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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: William R. Hendee, PhD (Medical College of Wisconsin)
Description: This book is a primer on the principles of outcome-based evaluation and its applications to a variety of public services. Included in these services are programs for healthcare delivery, education, social services, and government support agencies. Outcome based evaluation includes effectiveness analysis, impact analysis and benefit-dost analysis.
Purpose: The purpose is to help program administrators to look beyond simply the provision of quality services to program evaluation that uses person-referenced outcomes to analyze program effectiveness, impact, and cost-benefit. These objectives are essential for evaluation of the overall societal value of public services. In general, these objectives are satisfied, and examples with tabulated data are particularly useful as guides to applications of the principles delineated in the text.
Audience: The book is written principally for current and future program administrators from a wide spectrum of service disciplines, including healthcare, human resources, education and training, and social and government services. The author is associated with Hastings College and the Mid-Nebraskan Mental Retardation Services.
Features: The book is constructed around 20 guiding principles that are summarized in the last chapter. References are provided as both annotated references and additional readings at the end of each chapter. Subject and author indexes are provided along with a detailed table of contents. The book is intelligible, clearly formatted, and easy to read. Each chapter has study questions, and examples in the form of exhibits are provided.
Assessment: Every administrator of a program that provides a service to the public is confronted with new challenges emanating from what is often referred to as the new era of accountability. These challenges go beyond demands for high-quality services to documentation of program impact, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness in terms of measurable outcomes in the serviced population. For most administrators, these challenges represent uncharted territory, and a guide to pathways to meeting them is needed. This book provides such a guide. It is written from the perspective of underlying principles, with examples taken from a wide spectrum of public services. The book is recommended reading for program administrators and all others perplexed by new demands for accountability based on quantitative measures in the context of outcomes analysis.