Putting It All Together
Following is a program outline for Museums Are Fun for Everyone that includes goals, objectives, outcomes, and indicators. Note the differences in language used to respond to an RFP that called for a purpose statement, services, outcomes, and indicators.
Museums Are Fun for Everyone
PROGRAM PURPOSE (GOAL)
The Museum provides a series of workshops about its programs for mothers and two-to five-year olds from the Hills High School parenting program and Cabot Park neighborhood to increase visits by local families and to increase the museum comfort level of mothers who rarely or never visit the museum.
PROGRAM SERVICES (OBJECTIVES)
Make outreach visits to Hills High School and Head Start parent meetings.
Provide three Saturday workshops for target mothers and children.
Provide three after-school workshops for target mothers and children.
Mothers from Cabot Park and Hills High will feel more comfortable bringing kids to the museum, and these families will use the museum more.
(a) The number of participating mothers who report their comfort in bringing kids to the museum increased to at least four on a five-point scale, and (b) the number of Cabot Park and Hills High visitors in Kids' Week 2002.
DATA SOURCE (S)
(a) Questionnaire and phone survey for all mothers who participate in a workshop and (b) random exit interviews of adults who visit the Museum with children during Kids' Week 2001, repeated in Kids' Week 2002.
TARGET FOR CHANGE
(a) Participants' reported comfort level goes up 75 percent or more from workshop one to six weeks after workshop three, and (b) visits by target families increase from less than 1 percent in Kids' Week 2001 to 10 percent in Kids' Week 2002. In the project described above, the goal is to increase the comfort level of mothers visiting the museum, with the longer-term goal of increasing museum visits by families. The project will ask mothers who participate in the workshops to rate their comfort level in the museum on a simple scale (“five equals very comfortable, one equals not at all comfortable”) to show that mothers feel more comfortable in the museum after the workshops. During Kids' Weeks 2001 and 2002, it will compare information about where visitors live to see whether the workshop series increased visitors from the target neighborhoods.
Questionnaires and interviews provide the opportunity to ask other important planning questions and can be very short. There might be other explanations for a rise in local Kids' Week attendance, but if the museum did not make major changes in the program or publicity, it would be reasonable to think the workshops made a difference. Outcome-based evaluation has different goals from research or many visitor studies — it seeks to document the extent to which a program achieved its purposes.