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The Influence Of Evaluators' Principles On Evaluation Resource Decisions.

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Overview

This study examines ways in which evaluators' principles influence decisions about evaluation resources. Evaluators must seek-out and allocate (often scarce) resources (e.g., money, time, data, people, places) in a way that allows them to conduct the best possible evaluation given clients' and evaluation participants' constraints. Working within constraints implies a need to make trade-offs; to choose which aspects of the evaluation are most and least important. In designing an evaluation, evaluators consider many factors, including evaluation questions, context, stakeholder interests, and appropriate methods. Evaluators bring to their practice a set of principles (some "core," non-negotiable; some "peripheral," negotiable) about how evaluation should be conducted. This study builds on previous work by Alkin and Christie (2005) who asked four evaluators with different theoretical perspectives to design an evaluation of a mock program (2005). Three of these evaluators participated in the current study, this time considering (1) resources needed for their designs and (2) how design and resource priorities would change given more or less available resources. Semi-structured interviews with the evaluators provided the primary source of data from which categorized and prioritized lists were generated of resources, principles, and resource relationships influenced by principles. Each evaluator provided an evaluation report and literature about a real evaluation that best exemplified their approach in practice. These documents were used to validate and refine analyses of the Bunche-Da Vinci proposals. The evaluators reviewed analyses of their work, providing corrections and further insights. Findings documented key resource relationships influenced by evaluator principles, weighing social capital as an important, related influence. Particular attention was paid to the evaluation team-stakeholder relationships. In comparing the case studies, several important common themes emerged. Each addressed the themes differently, showing how their principles partly led to distinct resource relationships. Findings from this study may help evaluation practitioners to explore how their own principles drive their practice and to weigh alternatives likely dismissed due to prioritizing certain principles and resources over others. Further research could study how these findings translate to the larger evaluation community.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781243688392
  • Publisher: BiblioLabsII
  • Publication date: 9/8/2011
  • Pages: 428
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.87 (d)

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