Developing a Program Evaluation - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  1087 Words
Date:  2024-01-01


Program evaluation refers to a series of processes conducted to determine the effectiveness of a social program in achieving its objectives. An effective program evaluation process collects, analyzes, and interprets critical data about the design and operations of a given policy or program (Logan & Royse, 2010, p. 221). The outcome of the data analysis is compared to the program's goals to determine its success. Program evaluations are also used for the continuous improvement of programs. This plan outlines the program evaluation process using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as a case study.

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Stakeholder Analysis

The major stakeholders in the SNAP program include the federal and state governments, food retailers, and consumers. The federal and state governments are significant policymakers for SNAP (Pomeranz & Chriqui, 2015, p. 429). The federal government is the most pivotal stakeholder in the SNAP program. The federal government is responsible for funding the program. As such, the evaluation is an essential process for the federal government since the evaluation's recommendations directly affect government spending on the program. The assessment of SNAP may necessitate the addition of further benefits or the removal of some benefits. Such alterations to the program have financial implications which are covered by the federal government. The state governments are in charge of the administration of the program under federal guidelines. Since the evaluation scrutinizes the policy aspects of the program, the state governments are directly dependent on the assessment for administrative and policy directions or suggestions (Pomeranz & Chriqui, 2015, p. 431). The main concern from many state governments is the appropriateness of some food choices that are included for SNAP eligibility such as sweetened drinks and foods of deemed low nutritional value.

The second category of stakeholders is food retailers. These stakeholders directly avail SNAP assistance to program beneficiaries by acting as an intermediary between the government and the consumers (beneficiaries). SNAP remittances form an essential part of such retailers' cash flows and impact their operational designs (Pomeranz & Chriqui, 2015, p. 428). As such, any amendment to the program arising from the evaluation economically affects the retailers. Lastly, the consumers are the direct beneficiaries of SNAP. The consumers' primary concern is eligibility criteria and coverage of the benefits. There have been cases of genuinely deserving citizens locked out of the program due to conditions like being immigrants or students.

Purpose of Evaluation

SNAP is a federally-funded state-administered program that provides food assistance to low-income and no-income families across the United States. As such, the program addresses two major social problems: hunger and poor nutrition (directly), and poverty (indirectly) (Pomeranz & Chriqui, 2015, p. 428). This evaluation aims to determine the effectiveness of this means-tested food program in alleviating hunger and improving quality of life for the most economically vulnerable Americans. To achieve this objective, the evaluation chiefly interrogates the food coverage, eligibility criteria, and funding as the most significant factors that determine the success of a social program of SNAP’s magnitude and importance.

The second purpose of the evaluation is to determine the financial burden of the SNAP program to the federal government. The evaluation of the cost of the program is vital since SNAP is funded by the American taxpayer (Pomeranz & Chriqui, 2015, p. 433). If the program is inefficient, it implies that a considerable amount of taxpayers’ money is going to waste instead of being diverted to other programs. Also, an evaluation of the financial cost vis-à-vis the program outcomes enables proper budgeting for the program to cover the essential nutritional needs of the consumers. Along with evaluating the federal cost of SNAP, the program evaluation also investigates the impact of SNAP in improving the overall economic situations of beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries. By fulfilling the outlined purposes, the evaluation seeks to provide a foundation for the short-term and long-term improvement of the SNAP program to boost the social and economic conditions of America and Americans.

Evaluation Questions

Research-type questions are essential in guiding the overall course of a program evaluation process. The questions act as a guide for the evaluator to determine the specific types and categories of data that need to be collected about the program (Logan & Royse, 2010, p. 222). The evaluator may usually attempt to answer these questions before the data collection and analysis. From the questions and related information, the evaluator can adequately address the concerns voiced by different program stakeholders (W. K. Kellogg Foundation, 2017). Evaluations primarily ask the question: Does this program work to attain its intended goal(s)? This primary question is then broken down into more straightforward, researchable questions and sub-questions.

First, the evaluation asks: Has SNAP reduced hunger and poverty among low-income households in America? This question seeks to gauge the overall success rating of the program since its inception. To answer this question, the evaluation will collect data on the average poverty levels in America since the inception of SNAP, dating back to the program's popularization as Food Stamps in the early 1960s (Pomeranz & Chriqui, 2015, p. 428). Most importantly, the evaluation will analyze the proportion of the poverty data directly attributable to SNAP. The data from this question will partially address the eligibility concern from a section of consumers who have unable to access program benefits despite meeting the basic income requirements for SNAP eligibility (Pomeranz & Chriqui, 2015, p. 434). This category includes strikers, students, and some immigrants, among others.


Thus, the evaluation asks whether the current food coverage by the program is adequate to meet the nutritional needs of beneficiaries. To answer this question, the evaluator will collect data, mainly from consumers and retailers, about the comprehensive list of SNAP-eligible food options in various states. The question of food coverage addresses the concerns by consumers and policymakers that some foods under the program are nutritionally inadequate or unhealthy and should be struck off the program list of eligible foods (Pomeranz & Chriqui, 2015, p. 430). Answering such concerns also reveal the efforts by SNAP to enhance the variety of food available for beneficiaries to improve health and alleviate poverty.


Logan, T. K., & Royse, D. (2010). Program evaluation studies. In B. Thyer (Ed.), The handbook of social work research methods (2nd ed., pp. 221–240). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. (PDF)

Pomeranz, J. L., & Chriqui, J. F. (2015). The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: analysis of program administration and food law definitions. American journal of preventive medicine, 49(3), 428-436. Retrieved from

W. K. Kellogg Foundation. (2017). The step-by-step guide to evaluation: How to become savvy evaluation consumers. Retrieved from

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