Using theories of action to guide national program evaluation and local strategy in the community care network demonstration

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Medical Care Research and Review


Volume 60, Issue 4 Supplement 1

Inclusive Pages



Community Networks--standards; Community-Based Assessments; Quality improvement


Evaluations of multisite community-based projects are notoriously difficult to conceptualize and conduct. Projects may share an overarching vision but operate in varying contexts and pursue different initiatives. One tool that can assist evaluators facing these challenges is to developa "theory of action" (TOA) that identifies critical assumptions regarding how a program expects to achieve its goals. Community Care Network (CCN) evaluators used the TOA to refine research questions, define key variables, relate questions to each other, and identify when we might realistically expect to observe answers. In this article, the authors present their national-level CCN TOA. They also worked with sites to helpthem "surface" their local TOA; the article analyzes the results to determine the content, clarity, extent of evidence base, and strategic orientation of theories articulated by different sites.

Peer Reviewed