Evaluation and Measurement Unit
Evaluation & Measurement Unit (EMU)
Building accountability and effectiveness in public diplomacy
U.S. global public diplomacy programs are critical in advancing U.S. interests and policies and putting forth an accurate vision of the United States. Public diplomacy encompasses a wide range of activities including media outreach, educational and cultural exchanges, dissemination of print and electronic materials, and English language programs for foreign publics.
U.S. government public diplomacy leaders have long grappled with how to measure the impact of their exchanges and information programs. Historically, the U.S. Department of State's public diplomacy efforts emphasized anecdotal evidence of program outputs instead of tangible outcome measures assessing the impact and reach of overseas public diplomacy activities. No standardized systems were in place to collect, measure and communicate how U.S. taxpayer dollars were used to change a foreign public's understanding and attitudes about the U.S., and advance American national interests.
The growing calls from key stakeholders for public diplomacy activities to achieve greater accountability and efficiency led to the creation of the Office of Policy, Planning and Resources for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (R/PPR) in 2004. The R/PPR office provides long-term strategic planning and executes a comprehensive strategy to document the measured value and effectiveness of public diplomacy programs. R/PPR enables the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs to better advise on the allocation of resources and to focus those resources on the most urgent national security objectives.
Within the R/PPR, the Evaluation & Measurement Unit (EMU) is responsible for developing performance measurement instruments and conducting formal independent evaluations of the Department of State's Public Diplomacy programs.
Who We Are
Advancing a culture of measurement in U.S. public diplomacy
The Evaluation & Measurement Unit builds accountability and improves the effectiveness of U.S. mission public diplomacy activities worldwide through program evaluation that include the application of rigorous data collection methods and innovative analytical approaches. The EMU evaluates U.S. mission public diplomacy programs, products and initiatives, and educational and cultural exchange programs supported by core operating funds, primarily carried out by the Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) and U.S. overseas missions.
The EMU provides the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs with critical information about the performance and efficiency of global public diplomacy activities conducted by U.S. missions. The quantifiable performance data gathered from the evaluations and impact assessments enable the Under Secretary to make well-informed decisions on progress toward the achievement of public diplomacy goals, effective strategies for improving the performance of mission activities, and on prioritizing the allocation of public diplomacy and public affairs resources.
Improving U.S. public diplomacy through rigorous evaluations
The EMU oversees four major programmatic areas:
- Public Diplomacy Impact. The Public Diplomacy Impact (PDI) project is the first global comparison study to measure the influence of U.S. public diplomacy activities worldwide on key foreign audiences. Initiated in 2006, PDI uses surveys and focus groups to gain quantified performance measurement data for greater insight into the impact and effectiveness of public diplomacy activities on foreign audiences.
- Program Evaluations. EMU designs and implements independent performance measurement and program evaluation to analyze the long term impact of public diplomacy programs that inform, engage and influence foreign audiences. EMU conducts formative evaluations as well as retrospective assessments of important PD Programs to provide useful, empirically grounded, and credible information to key decision makers for improved program management and strategic planning.
Leveraging IT investments to enhance PD performance
- Mission Activity Tracker (MAT). The MAT is an online performance measurement reporting tool that documents the scope, frequency and achievements of U.S. mission public diplomacy activities. This online tool collects qualitative and quantitative performance measurement data on U.S. mission public diplomacy outreach to key foreign audiences. It generates customized reporting to document the effectiveness of public diplomacy activities and to respond to timely requests from stakeholders.
- Performance Based Budgeting Pilot. This initiative evaluates whether U.S. missions are achieving key performance measurement objectives with the current allocation of program funding for U.S. public diplomacy activities and determines if a new strategic focus or additional funds are needed to reach key PD objectives.
For more information on the work of the Evaluation & Measurement Unit (EMU)