In this course, Design and Evaluation of Programs and Projects, you examine aspects of program planning and evaluation while also engaging in a Practicum Experience. As you do this, you may notice the differing terminologies and approaches that are applied in various circumstances.

For instance, you are likely quite familiar with the phrase “health problem” from your previous coursework and professional practice. This Discussion looks at understanding “social problems” as part of a framework for program design. What is the distinction between these terms? Why is it important to notice this divergence?

Problem analysis is a cornerstone for effective program planning and should be conducted at the outset. With this first Discussion, begin to pay close attention to the language and perspectives that will inform your program planning work as you move forward in the course.

To prepare:

• Consider the following scenario:


o Data from the Appalachian region show lower numbers of women receiving mammograms compared to the national average, indicating a need to increase use of this procedure in this area. However, the data also show that women from this region are reluctant to participate because of their attitudes toward mammograms (Royse & Dignan, 2009).
Review Chapter 1 of Designing and Managing Programs to be sure you have a clear understanding of the sequencing of program design and evaluation, as well as the importance of each element of this process.
Then, review Chapter 3. Analyze the scenario above in light of the concepts presented:

o Why is it important to avoid stating the problem as a solution?

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o How does this scenario illustrate a “social problem”?

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o What responses to the problem analysis framework questions (pp. 45–49) could you develop given the information provided?

By Day 3, post a cohesive scholarly response that addresses the following:

• Describe three key insights or strategies you would share with your team if you were engaged in planning for a program related to the scenario described above.


• How do you expect that your intended approach to developing an understanding of social problems could affect program planning? Be sure to support your response.

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