The Practice-Theory Relationship in Evaluation

By Christina A. Christie | Go to book overview

7
Evaluation Theory and Practice:
Insights and New Directions

Marvin C.Alkin

This chapter offers a synthesis of the critical
commentaries of each of the previous chapters, along with
additional commentary on evaluation theory and
practice
.

As would be expected from such a distinguished group, the chapter authors in this volume have provided great insights into Christina Christie’s work. They have discussed its main contributions and insights. They have noted related work that serves to triangulate her findings, and they have made a clarion call for future research and suggested the directions that such research might take.


A Review of Christie’s Findings

All of the chapter authors note the importance of acquiring systematic evidence about evaluation, and they credit Christie for taking a big step in reviving interest in this activity. Christie’s work is solid and clarifies the relationships between evaluation theoretical formulations and evaluation practice. It would be superfluous to discuss Christie’s main findings in depth. However, it is relevant to recap some of her findings briefly.

Theorists. With respect to the theorists and their relationships to one another, the results were largely as we would have anticipated from reading their scholarly writings. Although views were generally quite predictable, there were some surprises and additional insights. First, Cousins exhibited a stronger orientation toward quantitative methodology than might have been anticipated from his work. He is positioned as more methods-oriented (primarily quantitative) than all the theorists, other than Boruch or Chen. Considering him an advocate of participatory evaluation, we might not have expected this—envisaging participants not highly trained as methodologists.

-81-

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