Evaluation: A Systematic Approach

By Peter H. Rossi; Howard E. Freeman et al. | Go to book overview

Preface

This volume has a cosmopolitan past. Its beginnings go back about three years, when all three authors presented independently written but remarkably similar papers (see Freeman, 1977; and Rossi and Wright, 1976), on the contemporary state of evaluation research, at a Washington, D.C. international meeting sponsored by UNESCO under the leadership of their evaluation expert, Erwin Solomon. UNESCO had brought together evaluation specialists from many countries who were concerned with the development of evaluation research methodologies and their application to social programs of a wide variety.

While hardly strangers to each other, the convergence of ideas in the two papers was so close that, throughout the conference, we jokingly accused each other of plagiarism, a charge that upset the non- American colleagues who were never quite assured that we were not about to run each other into court. The consistency of views, bibliographic references, and terminology suggested to us and to others at the conference that there was considerable structure and consensus within the field of evaluation, at least as practiced in the United States. The field of evaluation research appeared to have grown out of feeble childhood, through clumsy adolescence, and finally to have achieved some adult dignity.

Nicholas Imboden, who was attending the UNESCO conference as the representative of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), discussed with us at several points throughout the conference the desirability of providing a more thorough and detailed technical document on evaluation research for use in social project assessment in lesser developed countries. We agreed to do so as a joint venture.

Under contract with OECD, we wrote Doing Evaluations ( Freeman, Rossi and Wright, forthcoming). That book is intended to provide a broad introduction to evaluation and a survey of methods typically employed. Special emphasis was given to the types of

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