Evaluating Social Programs and Problems: Visions for the New Millennium

Evaluating Social Programs and Problems: Visions for the New Millennium

Evaluating Social Programs and Problems: Visions for the New Millennium

Evaluating Social Programs and Problems: Visions for the New Millennium

Synopsis

Evaluation is a rapidly changing and growing field. Today's evaluators are being challenged to help design and evaluate social programs intended to prevent and ameliorate complex social problems in a variety of settings, including schools, communities, and not-for-profit and for-profit organizations. Drawing upon the knowledge and experience of world-renowned evaluators, the goal of this new book is to provide the most up-to-date theorizing about how to practice evaluation in the new millennium. It features specific examples of evaluations of social programs and problems, including the strengths and weaknesses of the most popular and promising evaluation approaches, to help readers determine when particular methods are likely to be most effective. As such, it is the most comprehensive volume available on modern theories of evaluation practice. Evaluating Social Programs and Problems is a valuable resource and should be considered required reading for practicing evaluators, evaluators-intraining, scholars and teachers of evaluation and research methods, and other professionals interested in improving social problem-solving efforts in the new millennium.

Excerpt

Evaluation appears to be in a second major boom period in its rather short history. For example, in 1990 there were about five major evaluation professional associations, whereas today there are nearly 40 worldwide. It is clear that the most important work of evaluators in the 21st century will be to evaluate social programs designed to prevent and ameliorate social problems that threaten the well being of children, adolescents, substantial portions of the world's adult populations, and the elderly. This work will inevitably be carried out in a wide range of settings, including schools, communities, and non-profit for-profit organizations of many shapes and sizes.

This volume intends to provide some visions and agenda items for this undertaking. Drawing on the knowledge and experience of some the most well-traveled and well-known evaluators in the world today, it incorporates “bleeding-edge” perspectives on evaluation as a transdiscipline, results-oriented management, empowerment evaluation, fourthgeneration evaluation, inclusive evaluation, theory-driven evaluation, cultural competency in evaluation, and frameworks for integrating diverse visions for evaluation. We hope this book will be of value to practicing evaluators grappling with the challenges of providing valid and useful evaluations in an increasingly complex, diverse, high-tech, and global landscape, as well evaluators-in-training, scholars, teachers of evaluation and research methods, other professionals interested in how to improve social problem-solving efforts in the new millennium.

The editors of this volume would first like to express abundant gratitude to the Stauffer Symposium Coordinator, Katrina Bledsoe, and her team of Claremont Graduate University graduate students—Thomas Andry, Heather Campbell, Susie Cervantez, Kelly Fischbein, Cindy Gilbert, Marycarmen Kunicki, Stuart Jordan, and Theodore Joseph—for organizing and managing a top-rate symposium. Special thanks to Stuart . . .

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