Program Evaluation for the Homelessness Sector

Program Evaluation Terms

Before exploring program evaluation in more detail, let’s review some terminology. The list of terms below may include some concepts you are familiar with, but some others may be new to you.

Glossary of Terms  


The things the program is doing to achieve the desired objectives. Cooking classes, education sessions around nutrition, free meals.


A goal is a statement of purpose which describes an objective in a key area. Goal is used at an abstract level. 


A means of measuring what actually happens against what has been planned in terms of quantity, quality, and timeliness. Indicators are things you can monitor to see change.


Words and graphics that describe an IF/THEN relationship between the program activities and your goals, objectives, population of interest, and indicators.


Refers to the change that the program is trying to make. These are translated Into measurable outcomes.


Refers to results that occur as a result of your program activities (e.g., changes in participants’ knowledge and attitudes, changes in organizational conditions and services).


These are tangible results or products of project activities, such as the number of services provided, the tools developed, and the number of people served.


Refers to the people or program users that your activities or services are targeting. It includes demographic information as well as the strengths and challenges of program users.


A set of planned activities aimed at achieving specific goals within a specific time frame.


Impact is the change that needs to occur to bring about sustainable long term changes.


The individuals or organizations that have an interest in a project or program. They include individuals and organizations that make decisions, participate in the project, or may be affected by the project activities.