Evaluating Community Collaborations

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Overview

Collaborations, which bring organizations together in a community to implement or improve an innovative program or change a policy or procedure, have become a central strategy for promoting community change. Funders require them; nonprofits see them as useful solutions to their problems of declining resources and increasing complexity (including multicultural issues); and communities demand them as evidence that key stakeholders are coming together to address problems of mutual concern.

Moreover, no matter how powerful the concept, the implementation of community collaborations can usually be improved. The evaluation of collaborations can provide evidence of outcome and impact, and can help improve the process by which the collaboration operates.

This book was developed by the nonprofit Human Interaction Research Institute,with funding support from the Federal Center for Mental Health Services, in connection with a series of evaluations of mental health, youth violence prevention and arts grant-making programs (supported by both the Federal government and foundations)-all of which involved collaborations as a central mechanism. It is the first comprehensive treatment of theoretical, research, and practice issues concerning the evaluation of collaborations, and includes an extensive set of forms that can be adapted for this purpose. Chapter authors are leaders in both evaluation and community collaboration work.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Reviewer: Penny Wolfe Moore, RNC, PhD (Southwestern Adventist University)
Description: This book is dedicated to research related to community collaborations and partnerships. There is an effort to be holistic with chapters on "the human side of evaluating collaborations" and one dedicated to multicultural issues.
Purpose: The stated purpose is to "present the many challenges-technical, political and resource-driven, among others-that help to account for. . .inconsistent results" found in "systematic reviews and cross-site evaluations of community collaborations." The book devotes much space to the use of "empowerment evaluation methods and tools." Both of these objectives would be important to a serious community researcher.
Audience: Only a serious community researcher or a person studying community research would be interested in perusing this book to any depth. It would be a good resource in the library of health related research institutes. The authors and contributors have very impressive credentials.
Features: The multicultural and human aspects of community collaborations are covered initially. This is followed by what the authors call, a practical approach. This section involves an in-depth, how-to narrative with many actual tools. Some of the tools are: annual satisfaction survey for community coalitions, responsibility charting, sustainability benchmarks and coalition annual report (plus several others). I found the chapter on making sense of results from collaboration evaluations especially helpful.
Assessment: This is a positive contribution to the development of evidence-based practice in the community. Professionals in community/public health practice will find the information interesting and the tools very helpful. People pursuing graduate education will consider this a real find! The information seems quite unique and worthwhile.
From The Critics
Reviewer: Penny Wolfe Moore, RNC, PhD(Southwestern Adventist University)
Description: This book is dedicated to research related to community collaborations and partnerships. There is an effort to be holistic with chapters on "the human side of evaluating collaborations" and one dedicated to multicultural issues.
Purpose: The stated purpose is to "present the many challenges-technical, political and resource-driven, among others-that help to account for. . .inconsistent results" found in "systematic reviews and cross-site evaluations of community collaborations." The book devotes much space to the use of "empowerment evaluation methods and tools." Both of these objectives would be important to a serious community researcher.
Audience: Only a serious community researcher or a person studying community research would be interested in perusing this book to any depth. It would be a good resource in the library of health related research institutes. The authors and contributors have very impressive credentials.
Features: The multicultural and human aspects of community collaborations are covered initially. This is followed by what the authors call, a practical approach. This section involves an in-depth, how-to narrative with many actual tools. Some of the tools are: annual satisfaction survey for community coalitions, responsibility charting, sustainability benchmarks and coalition annual report (plus several others). I found the chapter on making sense of results from collaboration evaluations especially helpful.
Assessment: This is a positive contribution to the development of evidence-based practice in the community. Professionals in community/public health practice will find the information interesting and the tools very helpful. People pursuing graduate education will consider this a real find! The information seems quite unique and worthwhile.

3 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826121851
  • Publisher: Springer Publishing Company, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/30/2003
  • Pages: 178
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas E. Backer is president of the Human Interaction Research Institute, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit center for research and intervention on innovation and change. He is also associate clinical professor of medical psychology at the UCLA School of Medicine. A psychologist, his life work is devoted to helping people, organizations, and communities meet the challenges of innovation and change. He has three central interests: the human dynamics of change for both individuals and organizations; use of strategic planning and other problem-solving methods to meet the challenges of change; and the psychology of creativity. He conducts research, writes, teaches, and consults in all three areas - concentrating on work that improves services for vulnerable populations, and on enhancing nonprofit arts and culture programs.

He is the author of more than 400 books, articles, and research reports. Dissemination and Utilization Strategies for Foundations: Adding Value to Grantmaking, and Reviewing the Behavioral Science Knowledge Base on Technology Transfer (coedited with Susan L. David and Gerald Soucy of the National Institute on Drug Abuse) are his most recent books. He is also the author of three recently completed research studies of innovations in philanthropy, all commissioned by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Dr. Backer won the 19889 Mrs. Swanson Award of the Knowledge Utilization Society, for his longtime research and consultation on labor and management responses to the AIDS health crisis. He was also awarded the 1987 Consulting Psychology Research Award of the Division of Consulting Psychology, American Psychological Association, and its 2001 RHR International Award for Excellence in Consultation.

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Table of Contents

  1. Acknowledgments
    Foreword, Abe Wandersman
  2. Evaluating Community Collaborations: An Overview, Thomas E. Backer
  3. Multicultural Issues in Collaboration: Some Implications for Multirater Evaluation, Alex J. Norman
  4. The Human Side of Evaluating Collaborations, Thomas E. Backer and Cynthia Kunz
  5. A Practical Approach to Evaluation of Collaborations, Tom Wolff
  6. Making Sense of Results from Collaboration Evaluations, Vincent T. Francisco, Jerry A. Schultz, and Stephen B. Fawcett
  7. Evaluating Collaborations in Youth Violence Prevention, Nancy G. Guerra

  8. Commentary, John Bare
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