Resource | Brief

Linking Process Indicators to Outcomes in Evaluations of Home Visiting Programs

Project: Design Options for Home Visiting Evaluation

available downloads

Process indicators are measures that reflect actions taken by program staff and the results of those actions. They can help identify mechanisms of change or active ingredients for families—how the program achieves outcomes or why it does not.

This brief was developed for awardees of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program. It defines process indicators, describes how they link to short- and long-term outcomes in home visiting evaluations, and provides an example. Key takeaways for MIECHV awardees and others include the following:

  • Demonstrating linkages between process indicators and outcomes can show whether an intervention is on track to achieve desired long-term outcomes.
  • Process indicators should be supported by program theory and connect activities and outputs to desired outcomes.
  • Evaluations that focus on linkages between process indicators and outcomes may help programs understand what works and for whom. The approach can be used in various evaluation designs, including rapid cycle evaluations and pay for outcomes research.