Evaluation Designs - Retrospective

Common Evaluation Designs

Retrospective Design

A retrospective design could be considered another variation of the pretest/posttest design. In a retrospective design the participant takes both a pretest and a post test after the intervention is complete. Often this type of design assesses changes in skills, attitudes or behaviors. Participants may be asked how they felt about their skills before they started the intervention/program and how they feel about their skills now. This design can be cost-effective and reduce survey burden on participants.

Retrospective Design in Practice

A program coordinator wants to determine how participating in a one-day health clinic and prevention workshop for homeless youth (intervention) has impacted youth knowledge about specific health risks. To do so, program staff administered a retrospective pretest survey to assess whether participants’ knowledge about health risks changed after participating in the one-day event.  Participants are asked to complete questions about their previous knowledge as well as current knowledge of health risks in one form at the conclusion of the day’s activities.


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