Getting To Outcomes™: Promoting Accountability Through Methods and Tools for Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation

Chinman, M., Imm, P., & Wandersman, A. (2004). Getting to outcomes™: Promoting accountability through methods and tools for planning, implementation, and evaluation. Retrieved from The Rand Organization website:

Template available Example available


This approach helps practitioners improve the accountability and quality of their programs by identifying the gaps between research and practice and by building capacity at the individual practitioner and program level.

Steps for Using Method/Tool

The approach guides users through 10 accountability questions organized in three sections:

A) Planning questions

  1. Needs and resources
  2. Goals
  3. Best practice
  4. Fit
  5. Capacitiea
  6. Plan

B) Evaluation questions

  1. Process
  2. Outcomes

C) Improvement questions

  1. Continuous quality
  2. Sustainability


Dr. Chinman and colleagues have been evaluating and refining the Getting to Outcomes (GTO) approach for over 10 years. Chinman, Hunter, Ebener, Paddock, et al (2008) conducted a quasi-experimental study of 10 GTO and non-GTO drug prevention programs that compared their practitioner capacity (i.e., knowledge, attitudes, skills) to select effective practices, and plan, implement, evaluate and sustain those practices. The GTO intervention involved distributing GTO manuals, delivering training, and providing on-site technical assistance to program staff. The GTO process helped program staff improve their capacity more than the comparison programs. Change in practitioner capacity from baseline to two years was related to the amount of technical assistance hours delivered. Using GTO, several programs were able to document improvement in outcomes.

In Chinman et al. (2009), a formative evaluation of the GTO process on a larger scale was conducted in the state drug prevention systems of Tennessee and Missouri. In Tennessee, 54 drug prevention programs were randomly assigned to receive either the GTO intervention or standard practice (RCT design). In Missouri, 36 programs that received GTO were compared with 9 similar programs that did not (quasi-experimental design). At one year, analyses found that GTO-programs improved their capacity to implement effective practices over non-GTO programs, despite experiencing challenges with respect to implementation.

These summaries are written by the NCCMT to condense and to provide an overview of the resources listed in the Registry of Methods and Tools and to give suggestions for their use in a public health context. For more information on individual methods and tools included in the review, please consult the authors/developers of the original resources.

We have provided the resources and links as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by McMaster University of any of the products, services or opinions of the external organizations, nor have the external organizations endorsed their resources and links as provided by McMaster University. McMaster University bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external sites.

Have you used this resource? Share your story!