Develop a SART
skip navigation 

Monitoring Versus Evaluating

Monitoring and evaluation tells you what works, what doesn't work, and why. The process can help you increase efficiency, improve communication, and measure the benefits of your SART for victims, service providers, funders, policymakers, and communities.

Monitoring and evaluation are intimately connected but they have separate functions. Doing both can lay a foundation that will move your SART beyond good intentions to an ongoing system that meets diverse and ever-changing needs and conditions. For example, the process can3

  • Identify gaps in services.
  • Describe which populations and individuals benefit the most and the least from services.
  • Strengthen service delivery options.

Although monitoring and evaluation are closely linked, "evaluation is not a substitute for monitoring nor is monitoring a substitute for evaluation":4

  • Monitoring occurs continuously and provides regular, consistent data on your SART's activities and accomplishments. Data obtained through routine monitoring serve several purposes. First, you can use the data in process evaluations to document how well your team functions and its effect on the response to sexual violence. Second, you can use the data in outcome evaluations to identify areas in which service expectations were or were not met. Third, you can identify trends that have an impact on systems (e.g., criminal and civil justice, institutions of higher education, tribal and military systems, public and mental health). Before you commit to monitoring your team's activities, ask yourself the following questions:5 What do you need to monitor? Why? How will you monitor it? When will data be collected? Who will collect the data?

    Although the process of collecting data to monitor team functioning and service delivery may seem daunting, monitoring allows you to track emerging issues and address them in the early stages. Monitoring also helps you identify and celebrate your SART's successes.
  • Evaluation occurs periodically and involves assessing the strengths and weaknesses of your team's administrative functions (e.g., team meetings, case reviews); its development of SART guidelines and protocols; its products (e.g., victim informational guides); and the impact of multidisciplinary collaboration on victims' experiences and criminal and civil justice outcomes. Evaluation "relies on data generated through monitoring activities as well as information obtained from other sources"6 (e.g., town meetings, victim surveys, community needs assessments, focus groups). When you evaluate your SART, you're finding out whether your team is functioning as planned, whether your responses are cost effective, and whether you are meeting your objectives.7 For example, SART evaluations can8
    • Document your accomplishments so you may build on what is working well.
    • Assess the team's infrastructure.
    • Describe what is happening that was not expected.
    • Assess how service providers and victims interact.
    • Describe emerging issues and how they are being addressed.
    • Describe both short- and long-term outcomes associated with the team's activities.
The Evaluation Process
  1. Clarify your goals and objectives.
  2. Understand the different types of evaluation.
  3. Select your evaluation tools (e.g., surveys, focus groups).
  4. Create data collection plans.
  5. Develop processes for managing the data you collect.
  6. Identify resources and methods for analyzing and interpreting the data.
  7. Create a plan to report findings.
  8. Implement improvements based on evaluation findings.

Source: Courtney Ahrens, Gloria Aponte, Rebecca Campbell, William Davidson, Heather Dorey, Lori Grubstein, Monika Naegeli, and Sharon Wasco, Introduction to Evaluation Training and Practice for Sexual Assault Service Delivery, Michigan Public Health Institute and the University of Illinois at Chicago, 1998.