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Evaluation Design

Applied Research

Collaborative Evaluation with THIS-WIC

THIS-WIC will lead the evaluation of the projects in collaboration with the funded WIC SAs. Applicants do not need to be research experts or have prior experience in evaluation, but will be expected to work with the THIS-WIC team to finalize the evaluation design for funded projects and to provide data necessary to evaluate the impact, feasibility, and acceptability of the intervention.

Throughout the project period, THIS-WIC will build WIC SAs evaluation capacity through trainings, webinars, and direct communication (see more information below in Expectations for Funded WIC SAs). WIC SAs can use grant funding to support current staff or hire new staff needed to carry out evaluation-related activities. Throughout implementation and evaluation of the funded projects, USDA WIC program requirements will be met (i.e., usual WIC care; resources will not be withheld from participants).

A key goal of THIS-WIC is to generate robust evidence of effective strategies for implementing telehealth solutions in WIC. Learnings from THIS-WIC research will help improve WIC services for participating SAs and help them to ensure high-quality programming and program access. These applied research findings will also inform other WIC SAs and local agencies more broadly on ways to meet program needs of the evolving WIC participant population.

Creating Your Evaluation Strategy

The goal of the evaluation strategy is to provide THIS-WIC with more information about evaluation designs applicants would be willing to implement as well as potential challenges applicants might encounter in implementing the proposed evaluation.

Specifically, applicants will be asked to consider and explain whether they can:

  • implement the proposed intervention in a randomized (i.e., coin toss) fashion, by randomly assigning WIC participants or sites (i.e., local agencies or clinics) to receive either the telehealth intervention or usual care OR
  • implement the proposed intervention using treatment and comparison groups (i.e., not randomized)

In determining whether they can implement the proposed telehealth intervention in a randomized fashion, applicants should consider key stakeholders, particularly those who will be involved in implementing the proposed intervention, including local agency/clinic directors, program managers, and staff.

Research Designs to Consider

The research designs below are organized from strongest (1) to weakest (3).

1. Randomized design for individuals
  • Participants are randomly assigned to either intervention or control group
  • Measure outcomes for both groups
2. Randomized design for clinics
  • Clinics are randomly assigned to either intervention or control group
  • Measure outcomes for both groups
3. Quasi-experimental design
  • Participants or clinics are not randomly selected, but you still have an intervention and control group
  • Measure outcomes for both groups