Program Evaluation: Methods and Case Studies / Edition 8

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Overview

For upper-level undergraduate/ graduate-level courses in Program Evaluation, Program Planning, Program Administration, and Public Administration.

Comprehensive yet accessible, this text provides a practical introduction to the skills, attitudes, and methods required to assess the worth and value of human services offered in public and private organizations in a wide range of fields. Students are introduced to the need for such activities, the methods for carrying out evaluations, and the essential steps in organizing findings into reports. The text focuses on the work of people who are closely associated with the service to be evaluated, and is designed to help program planners, developers, and evaluators to work with program staff members who might be threatened by program evaluation.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205804979
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 7/26/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 8
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 221,143
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Emil J. Posavac (Ph.D., University of Illinois, Champaign) is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Loyola University of Chicago where he served as director of the Applied Social Psychology Graduate Program and chairman of the Psychology Department. He has consulted with a number of public and private organizations. He has published over sixty papers and chapters, edited or co-edited six volumes on program evaluation and applied social psychology, and written numerous evaluation reports for health care and educational institutions. He has written a textbook (with Eugene B. Zechmeister) on statistical analysis based on emerging orientations that emphasize a more complete understanding and presentation of data. In 1990, he was awarded the Myrdal Award by the American Evaluation Association for his contributions to the advancement of program evaluation practice. Since retirement he has taught at the University of Rochester (Simon Graduate School of Business), Rochester Institute of Technology, and Trevecca Nazarene University. He teaches English as a Second Language at his church in Franklin, Tennessee.

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Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1 Program Evaluation: An Overview

Evaluation Tasks That Need to Be Done

Common Types of Program Evaluations

Activities Often Confused with Program Evaluation

Different Types of Evaluations for Different Kinds of Programs

Purpose of Program Evaluation

2 Planning an Evaluation

An Overview of the Core Purposes of Evaluation

Steps in Preparing to Conduct an Evaluation

Dysfunctional Attitudes Making Program Evaluation Challenging

3 Developing and Using a Theory of the Program

Developing a Program Theory

Evaluation Questions Flow from Program Theory

Cautions in Choosing Evaluation Criteria

Identifying Goals and Objectives

Some Practical Limitations in Selecting Evaluation Criteria

4 Developing Measures of Implementation and Outcomes

Sources of Data for Evaluation

Gathering Information Wisely

Case Study 1: Using Multiple Measures in an Evaluation of a Summer Community Program for Youth

Types of Measures of Evaluation Criteria

Preparing Special Surveys

5 Ethics in Program Evaluation

Standards for the Practice of Evaluation

Ethical Issues Involved in the Treatment of People

Role Conflicts Facing Evaluators

Recognizing the Needs of Different Stakeholders

The Validity of Evaluations

Avoiding Possible Negative Side Effects of Evaluation Procedures

Institutional Review Boards and Program Evaluation

Ethical Problems Evaluators Report

6 The Assessment of Need

Definitions of Need

Sources of Information for the Assessment of Need

Inadequate Assessment of Need

Using Needs Assessments in Program Planning

7 Monitoring the Implementation and Operation of Programs

Monitoring Programs as a Means of Evaluating Programs

What to Summarize with Information Systems

Program Records and Information Systems

Avoiding Common Problems in Implementing an Information System

8 Qualitative Evaluation Methods

Evaluation Settings Best Served by Qualitative Evaluations

Gathering Qualitative Information

Case Study 2: Using Qualitative Methods in an Evaluation of a University Library

Carrying Out Naturalistic Evaluations

Coordinating Qualitative and Quantitative Methods

Philosophical Assumptions

9 Outcome Evaluations with One Group

One-Group Evaluation Designs

Uses of One-Group, Descriptive Designs

Case Study 3: A Pretest-Posttest Design to Evaluate a Peer-Based Program to Prevent Skin Cancer

Threats to Internal Validity

Construct Validity in Pretest-Posttest Designs

Overinterpreting the Results of One-Group Designs

Usefulness of One-Group Designs as Initial Approaches to Program Evaluation

10 Quasi-Experimental Approaches to Outcome Evaluation

Increasing the Number of Times Observations Are Made

Observing Other Groups

Case Study 4: Nonequivalent Control Groups Used to Evaluate an Employee Incentive Plan

Regression-Discontinuity Design

Observing Other Dependent Variables

Combining Designs to Increase Internal Validity

11 Using Experiments to Evaluate Programs

Experiments in Program Evaluation

Objections to Experimentation

The Most Desirable Times to Conduct Experiments

Case Study 5: Teaching Doctors Communication Skills: An Evaluation with Random Assignment and Pretests

Successfully Implementing and Interpreting an Experimental Design

12 Analyses of Costs and Outcomes

Cost Analyses and Budgets

Comparing Outcomes to Costs

Some Details of Cost Analyses

Case Study 6: The Value of Providing Smoking Cessation Clinics for Employees on Company Time

Major Criticisms of Cost Analyses

13 Evaluation Reports: Interpreting and Communicating Findings

Developing a Communication Plan

Personal Presentations of Findings

Content of Formal Written Evaluation Reports

Provide Progress Reports and Press Releases

14 How to Encourage Utilization

Obstacles to Effective Utilization

Dealing with Mixed Findings

Using Evaluations When an Innovative Program Seems No Better than Other Treatments

Case Study 7: Evaluations of the Outcomes of Boot Camp Prisons: The Value of Finding No Differences Between Program and Comparison Groups

Developing a Learning Culture

The Evaluation Attitude

References

Index

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Preface

Beginning with the first edition, we sought to present program evaluation as an accessible activity that people do routinely because they want to know how well they are carrying out their professional responsibilities. Evaluation was a new and rather threatening idea not too long ago. Initially it was viewed with skepticism, even hostility; sometimes it still is. We tried to show, first, that evaluations are performed for many good reasons other than to root out sloth, incompetence, and malpractice; second, that organized efforts to provide human services (that is, programs) can be evaluated; and, third, that evaluations conducted cooperatively can serve to improve programs and, thus, the quality of life.

To communicate those ideas, we included many illustrations based on our experiences, the experiences of our students, and published material. The Case Studies and Evaluator Profiles are included to show that there really are program evaluators conducting evaluations in private service agencies, foundations, universities, and federal, state, and local governments. Sometimes the abstract material in textbooks does not do enough to help readers visualize the real people who use the skills described in the book. We hope that these short descriptions help students to see program evaluation as a field that they might consider for themselves. The profiles also reveal the range of disciplines represented in the evaluation community.

Another reason to tie the concepts into specific settings is because program evaluation is still not a household word even though the daily newspapers of any large city refer to many efforts to evaluate services—Are the schoolsteaching well? Are crimes being solved? Are the homeless cared for? Will the latest change in interest rates have the desired effect on the economy? These activities are seldom called "program evaluations," but they are. We trust that after reading this text, you will appreciate the wide range of activities that are part of the evaluation effort.

This is an introductory book. Program evaluations can be quite informal when done with a small program offered at a single site or very ambitious when carried out to learn about a federal policy with participants in every state or province. We have concentrated on smaller projects because we feel that new evaluators can develop a better sense of the meaning of program evaluation when the scale is more manageable. We have written this text at an introductory level; however, in several chapters you will gain more if you have completed a statistics course. Other courses that would be helpful (but not essential) include courses in social science research methods and principles of psychological or educational measurement.

Soon after the first edition appeared, many federally-funded evaluation activities were curtailed. The era of big evaluations of large-scale demonstration projects came to an end. Many evaluators were apprehensive: Would organized, objective assessments of the effectiveness of governmentally funded social, medical, and educational programs end? Although federal support had given program evaluation a major boost in its infancy, decreased federal support did not reduce interest in evaluating programs. We believe that evaluating our organized activities is inherently helpful if done with an open mind for the purpose of adjusting our work in the light of the findings; consequently, evaluation survived federal cutbacks. In fact, it blossomed in ways that early evaluators had not foreseen. The degree of this blossoming is easy to see if one searches for "program evaluation" on the Internet.

Evaluation is as natural as a cook tasting vegetable soup and a basketball player watching to see if a hook shot goes into the basket. Of course, evaluation gets more complicated when we seek to evaluate the impact of efforts of a team rather than a solitary individual, when success is harder to define than getting the ball through the hoop, and when scarce resources are used to support a program.

We wish you well as you begin your study of program evaluation. We hope it will help you to participate actively and productively in the effort to develop a more effective, just, and healthy society—after all, that is what program evaluation is all about.

Read More Show Less

Introduction

Beginning with the first edition, we sought to present program evaluation as an accessible activity that people do routinely because they want to know how well they are carrying out their professional responsibilities. Evaluation was a new and rather threatening idea not too long ago. Initially it was viewed with skepticism, even hostility; sometimes it still is. We tried to show, first, that evaluations are performed for many good reasons other than to root out sloth, incompetence, and malpractice; second, that organized efforts to provide human services (that is, programs) can be evaluated; and, third, that evaluations conducted cooperatively can serve to improve programs and, thus, the quality of life.

To communicate those ideas, we included many illustrations based on our experiences, the experiences of our students, and published material. The Case Studies and Evaluator Profiles are included to show that there really are program evaluators conducting evaluations in private service agencies, foundations, universities, and federal, state, and local governments. Sometimes the abstract material in textbooks does not do enough to help readers visualize the real people who use the skills described in the book. We hope that these short descriptions help students to see program evaluation as a field that they might consider for themselves. The profiles also reveal the range of disciplines represented in the evaluation community.

Another reason to tie the concepts into specific settings is because program evaluation is still not a household word even though the daily newspapers of any large city refer to many efforts to evaluate services—Are the schools teaching well?Are crimes being solved? Are the homeless cared for? Will the latest change in interest rates have the desired effect on the economy? These activities are seldom called "program evaluations," but they are. We trust that after reading this text, you will appreciate the wide range of activities that are part of the evaluation effort.

This is an introductory book. Program evaluations can be quite informal when done with a small program offered at a single site or very ambitious when carried out to learn about a federal policy with participants in every state or province. We have concentrated on smaller projects because we feel that new evaluators can develop a better sense of the meaning of program evaluation when the scale is more manageable. We have written this text at an introductory level; however, in several chapters you will gain more if you have completed a statistics course. Other courses that would be helpful (but not essential) include courses in social science research methods and principles of psychological or educational measurement.

Soon after the first edition appeared, many federally-funded evaluation activities were curtailed. The era of big evaluations of large-scale demonstration projects came to an end. Many evaluators were apprehensive: Would organized, objective assessments of the effectiveness of governmentally funded social, medical, and educational programs end? Although federal support had given program evaluation a major boost in its infancy, decreased federal support did not reduce interest in evaluating programs. We believe that evaluating our organized activities is inherently helpful if done with an open mind for the purpose of adjusting our work in the light of the findings; consequently, evaluation survived federal cutbacks. In fact, it blossomed in ways that early evaluators had not foreseen. The degree of this blossoming is easy to see if one searches for "program evaluation" on the Internet.

Evaluation is as natural as a cook tasting vegetable soup and a basketball player watching to see if a hook shot goes into the basket. Of course, evaluation gets more complicated when we seek to evaluate the impact of efforts of a team rather than a solitary individual, when success is harder to define than getting the ball through the hoop, and when scarce resources are used to support a program.

We wish you well as you begin your study of program evaluation. We hope it will help you to participate actively and productively in the effort to develop a more effective, just, and healthy society—after all, that is what program evaluation is all about.

Read More Show Less

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