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April 19, 2022
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. Discuss the importance of internal validity of the program evaluation process.

Respond to each peer initial post and question at the end with a response about 3-4 sentences long.
Peer #1
 
1. Discuss the importance of internal validity of the program evaluation process.
In this week’s lesson, we studied and reviewed the types of methodology, program designs and internal validity and the threats of it. In an ideal program evaluation, an evaluator would like to support cause-and-effect methods. The only research design that supports that conclusion would be experimental design. Based on the type of program evaluation, cause-and-effect may be difficult to conduct especially if there is more than one variable changing another. In order to conduct an experimental design, “two elements have to be included in the methodology-random assignment of participants to conditions and manipulation of the independent variable” (Posavac, 2010, pg. 186). These types of experiments are often conducted in a laboratory and since program evaluation are conducted outside of labs and the fact of ethical concerns, most researchers and evaluators use the quasi-experimental design. This is a more common research approach for program evaluators. It allows evaluators to be ethical and practical in their approach to obtaining information and analyzing data. Due to the quasi-experimental design, it decreases the chances of the cause-and-effect change. Instead, evaluators have less control over factors or variables that can most likely affect the results of the evaluation. Internal validity is the evaluator having confidence in that no other variable except those being studied caused the results. Due to evaluators have less control over the possible factors or variables that can affect the results, it makes it difficult to come up with a solid conclusion at times. Internal validity is important because it helps control the study and produce the most efficient results. Internal validity also helps keep evaluators accountable for the analysis and trustworthiness of their evaluation.
2. Identify at least three potential threats to the internal validity of your program evaluation. Explain your reasoning for why the threats exist.
I am conducting an evaluation of the Boys & Girls Club of York County After School Program. The Boys & Girls Club is a big part of the York County Community. It provides a safe place for children and teenagers of our county and it provides academic success for all. The after-school program is the most used program that the Boys & Girls Club of York County offers. With a large enrollment, it is a pivotal part of the growth of our young ones. York County Boys & Girls club has several locations that offer the after-school program, this is because York County is a very big county and spreads over several school districts. One potential threat to the internal validity of my program evaluation is a selection. Selection refers to “the method for which participants are selected to participate in the research” (Posavac, 2010, pg. 176). For my evaluation, I will be using one of the several locations. I will be using the bigger location in Rock Hill, South Carolina. When selecting participants, it will be a little bit of challenge due to some participants being either underage or needing consent to participate. Also, another selection challenge is random versus volunteer. Most individuals such as the afterschool director, teachers, counselors, and children may not be so forthcoming when trying to conduct this evaluation. This is why it is significant to build a rapport with the faculty and students. Another internal validity threat to my evaluation would be testing. Testing refers to “the changes in behavior due to being observed or tested” (Posavac, 2010, pg. 178). This would be a threat because I will be using children and teenagers who use the afterschool program services. Children may tend to change their answers or the way they conduct themselves in evaluation due to many reasons. Some reasons may be the evaluator asking too many of the same question, posing to the child or teenager that their answer is wrong or that being interviewed means they did something wrong. Lastly, one potential threat could be maturation. Maturation refers to “natural changes in people due to the passage of time” (Posavac, 2010, pg. 174). Since the research is being conducted for an afterschool program that caters to ages 6 to 18, there can be variables such as changes in mood or behavior over the course of the evaluation. This can be a tricky subject especially if the evaluation lasts for a long period of time.

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