Principals and tools for evaluating community-based prevention and health promotion programs

J Public Health Manag Pract. 1998 Mar;4(2):37-47. doi: 10.1097/00124784-199803000-00006.


This article is an overview and practical guide for the evaluation of community-based disease prevention and health promotion programs. The article first offers a rationale for evaluating community-based programs, then enumerates five selected principles that are contemporary to community evaluation. The principles are as follows: (1) evaluation of community programs should include an assessment of program theory; (2) evaluation instruments that are used to measure community programs must be contoured to each individual community; (3) evaluation approaches used should be guided by the questions asked and often require both a quantitative and qualitative orientation; (4) evaluation should be informed by social ecology and social system concepts; and (5) community evaluation should involve local stakeholders in meaningful ways. At the end of each principle, an annotated reference list is provided that contains tools for applying the principle to community evaluation.

MeSH terms

  • Health Education
  • Health Promotion*
  • Health Services Research / methods
  • Humans
  • Models, Organizational
  • Preventive Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Program Evaluation / methods*