Program Evaluation: Forms and Approaches

Program Evaluation: Forms and Approaches

Program Evaluation: Forms and Approaches

Program Evaluation: Forms and Approaches

Synopsis

Program Evaluation 3rd editionhas the hallmarks of thoroughness, insight and fluency of other editions but brings us up to date with a map of the evaluation territory new travelers will find invaluable.' Professor Murray Saunders, UK and European Evaluation Societies John Owen'sProgram Evaluationhelps practitioners clarify distinctions between what we evaluate, the various motivations for conducting evaluation, and the approaches attendant to each. Timely evaluation examples liberally sprinkled throughout this book make it exceptionally useful and helpful to practitioners. I highly recommendProgram Evaluation.' Professor Marvin Alkin, UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies Everyone involved with policy and program development and delivery is being asked to plan more carefully, reflect more critically and justify their decisions. The key to this is evaluation. Program Evaluationoffers a conceptual yet straightforward and practical overview of the evaluation process for both beginners and experienced practitioners. It shows evaluators how to identify appropriate forms, approaches and methods, using an original framework. John Owen examines the contributions of evaluation to program provision, and offers proven techniques for involving stakeholders in the planning process and for disseminating the evaluation findings. This third edition has been thoroughly revised to incorporate recent research on evaluation and new examples of good practice. It includes sections of management of evaluation, negotiating evaluation plans, program logic and ex ante evaluation, evidence based practice, performance management and accountability. With international examples from a range of health, education, welfare, community and other settings,Program Evaluationis an essential reference for anyone involved in evaluation in both the public and private sectors.

Excerpt

Over the past two decades theorists have put forward a range of evaluation models. A model can be thought of as a prescription for undertaking an evaluation, based on certain theoretical assumptions. Many models represented the preferences of particular theorists, and their number proliferated as more social scientists entered the evaluation arena. Some attempts were made to classify them in terms of elements such as assumptions, methodology, and extent of involvement of stakeholders (Stufflebeam & Webster 1983).

Despite these attempts, we have found that many graduate students and commissioners of evaluation were confused about the relationship between a model and the solution to practical work-related problems. As one of our students, Susan Day, pointed out, what appeared to be missing from the evaluation literature was a framework that would make sense of this situation from the point of view of practitioners (Day 1991). To remedy this we developed a ‘meta-model’, consisting of five Evaluation Forms, within which some of the more important models or Approaches (as we shall call them) can be located. The Forms are designed to address the ‘why’ question in evaluation. Why an evaluation is being commissioned is of fundamental importance to both stakeholders and evaluators. Addressing the why question encourages evaluators to seek clarity about the knowledge needs of clients and sharpens up thinking about how this knowledge can be generated.

The notions of ‘Form’ and ‘Approach’ provide an epistemological framework for understanding the breadth of evaluative enquiry. For each Form there is a cluster of existing well-known Approaches that have elements in common. The Forms point to a range of roles for evaluative enquiry. This view is consistent with the comment of a noted evaluator that the ‘world of evaluation has grown larger than the boundaries of formative and summative evaluation, though this . . .

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