Research Methods in Family Therapy

By Douglas H. Sprenkle; Fred P. Piercy | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 15
Program Evaluation Science
and Family Therapy

JAY A. MANCINI
ANGELA J. HUEBNER
ERIC E. MCCOLLUM
LYDIA I. MAREK

In addition to clinical practice, family therapists are often involved in the development and implementation of prevention and intervention programs. These programs are designed either to lessen the chances of problem behaviors occurring in the future, or to ameliorate problem behaviors once they have occurred. Evaluation science focuses on the interrelated areas of program development and evaluation research, and seeks to examine the logic of prevention and intervention programs, as well as to determine the progress and success of those programs. Evaluation science offers an array of powerful analytical tools to family therapists that increase their understanding of prevention and intervention activities, and enable them to assess and systematically address a program's results and the processes leading to those results. This chapter covers five main topics: (1) presentation of two hypothetical case studies that illustrate evaluation science principles and methods; (2) theory as it applies to evaluation science; (3) logic model approaches to link theory and methods; (4) particular evaluation science issues and methods that fit with theory and with logic modeling; and (5) implications for family therapists, including issues of ethics, model development, and education and training.


BACKGROUND

Program and Community Case Studies

In this chapter, evaluation science is applied to two hypothetical cases of interventions that are common in communities. One is a workshop for children in divorcing families, and the other is a community intervention in youth development. Although there are commonalities across these scenarios, they also illuminate distinctive elements of programs and evaluation science. The seminar for children in divorcing families is sponsored by a single community agency and is not considered a community-wide ini-

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