Measuring results is an essential component of any successful P2 program. This section provides you with information and examples to identify appropriate measures and data collection methods for your P2 program activities.
In order to determine the success of your program, you must be able to show the results or outcomes of your activities, such as increases in awareness and understanding of P2 concepts, the percent of the targeted community that has implemented P2, or actual emissions reductions attributable to P2 practices.
By measuring the outcomes or results of your P2 program activities, you can better communicate the accomplishments of your program to policy makers, program funders, and the public; influence policy development by basing decisions on tangible and quantifiable data; and improve program management by measuring progress toward goals.
The information presented in this section is intended to help you your P2 program by tracking outputs to better capture results and environmental improvements. This information is not designed to be prescriptive. It is intended to make you think about the types of results you are currently measuring and to invite further dialogue and inquiry about outcome-based measurement. Further, this information is not being presented to enable comparison of the activities or effectiveness of state and local P2 programs.
Continuum of P2 Performance Measures
What types of results are you measuring? Many programs begin by determining what percent of their target audience has been reached. Such outputs are relatively easy to quantify, but do not reveal any information about the effectiveness of P2 activities. To evaluate program effectiveness, you must be able to show the results or outcomes of your activities. Focusing on outcomes enables you to demonstrate changes in understanding and behavior of your target audience, and ultimately, quantify the positive effects on the environment and human health.
Each measure builds on the previous measure on the continuum. Many programs begin by determining what percent of their target audience has been reached. Such outputs are relatively easy to quantify, but do not reveal any information about the effectiveness of P2 activities. To determine the success of your program, you must be able to show the results or outcomes of your activities. Focusing on outcomes enables you to demonstrate changes in understanding and behavior of your target audience, and ultimately, quantify the positive effects on the environment and human health.
EPA has identified two types of measures for gauging the success of state P2 grant programs: output measures and outcome measures.
Output measures are the quantitative or qualitative measures of important activities, work products, or actions taken by state P2 programs. They include the number of facilities reached through workshops or through the distribution of P2 documents. Examples of output measures for P2 programs include the number of P2 assessments conducted, the number of helpline calls answered, and the number of fact sheets developed and distributed.
- Reach represents the portion of the targeted audience that received your message. An example of reach would be the percentage of businesses in your state that have accessed your P2 Web site. Understanding how effectively you have reached your target audience will help you measure the results and outcomes associated with your efforts (i.e., if your Web site, fact sheet, or workshop is reaching only a small portion of the intended audience, there will be limited corresponding changes in awareness and understanding).
Outcome measures are quantitative or qualitative measures of changes in behavior of the general public or facilities caused, at least in part, by actions of the state P2 program. Outcome measures include changes in awareness and understanding, changes in behavior, and environmental and human health improvements.
- Changes in awareness or understanding reflect an increased knowledge of P2 opportunities and related issues. Examples of changes in awareness or understanding include the percentage of facilities receiving assistance that indicate an improved understanding of P2 alternatives or the number of facilities attending a workshop that gained knowledge about pollution prevention technologies.
- Changes in behavior represent actual changes that facilities have undertaken as a result of P2 assistance. Examples of behavioral change include the number of facilities that switched from a chemical solvent to a water-based solvent, number of facilities that implemented at least one recommended P2 action from a site visit or workshop, and number of facilities that installed a new p2 process.
- Environmental and human health improvements are measures of the actual environmental and human health improvements at facilities that received P2 assistance. Environmental and human health improvement measures provide an indication of the scope and types of improvements resulting from P2 tools and site visits. An example of environmental and human health improvements would be the number of pounds of pollutant emission reductions at a facility resulting from the adoption of a P2 practice.