Evaluation and analysis provide essential evidence for HHS to understand how its programs work, for whom, and under what circumstances. HHS builds evidence through evaluation and analysis in order to inform decisions in budget, legislative, regulatory, strategic planning, program, and policy arenas. Given the breadth of work supported by HHS, many evaluations and analyses are conducted each year. These efforts range in scope, scale, design, and methodology, but all aim to understand how the effect of programs and policies and how they can be improved.
Across HHS, evaluation comes in many forms, including:
- Program evaluations using the most rigorous designs appropriate;
- Capacity-building initiatives to improve administrative data collection, accessibility, and use for management;
- Exploratory and preliminary quantitative and qualitative analysis to build evidence;
- Pilots and demonstrations; and
- Statistical analysis of factors related to health and human services programs and policies.
Findings from a variety of evaluations and analyses are disseminated to the public on HHS agency websites such as the Administration for Children and Families Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation and the Innovation Center at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. ASPE coordinates the evaluation community by regularly convening the HHS Evaluation & Evidence Policy Council, which builds capacity by sharing best practices and promising new approaches across HHS.
Disseminating Evidence: In addition to building evidence through a broad range of rigorous empirical studies, analyses, and evaluations, HHS supports multiple clearinghouses that catalog, review, and disseminate evidence, including:
- Healthy People 2020 Database of Evidence-Based Resources
- Administration for Children and Families’ Research and Evaluation Clearinghouses
- Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research United States Preventive Services Task Force
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Community Guide
- National Cancer Institute’s Research-Tested Intervention Programs database
Select Federal Evaluation Resources
The federal evaluation community continually aims to ensure we are using our resources in accordance with the recommendations from both the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the General Accountability Office (GAO). The following resources are the most recent reports from those and other federal agencies.
- Program Evaluation: Annual Agency-wide Plans Could Enhance Leadership Support for Program Evaluations (2017)
- Tiered Evidence Grants: Opportunities Exist to Share Lessons from Early Implementation and Inform Future Federal Efforts (2016)
- Program Evaluation: Some Agencies Reported that Networking, Hiring, and Involving Program Staff Help Build Capacity (2014)
- Program Evaluation: Strategies to Facilitate Agencies’ Use of Evaluation in Program Management and Policy Making (2013)
- Designing Evaluations: 2012 Revision (2012)
- Program Evaluation: Experienced Agencies Follow a Similar Model for Prioritizing Research (2011)
- Program Evaluation: A Variety of Rigorous Methods Can Help Identify Effective Interventions (2009)
- FY 2019 President’s Budget Analytical Perspectives Chapter 6: Building and Using Evidence to Improve Government Effectiveness
- FY 19 OMB Circular A-11: Section 51.9 on Evidence and Evaluation
- Monitoring and Evaluation Guidelines for Federal Departments and Agencies that Administer United States Foreign Assistance (2018)
Federal Agency Evaluation Policies