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This issue of New Directions for Evaluation (NDE) marks a milestone?the25th anniversary of the American Evaluation Association (AEA). NDE is anofficial publication of AEA and has been a crucial means for theAssociation to foster and promote the professionalization of evaluationthrough thematic discussions of theory and practice in evaluation. NDEwas first published in 1978 under the name New Directions for ProgramEvaluation, although the title became New ...
This issue of New Directions for Evaluation (NDE) marks a milestone?the25th anniversary of the American Evaluation Association (AEA). NDE is anofficial publication of AEA and has been a crucial means for theAssociation to foster and promote the professionalization of evaluationthrough thematic discussions of theory and practice in evaluation. NDEwas first published in 1978 under the name New Directions for ProgramEvaluation, although the title became New Directions for Evaluation in 1995 in acknowledgment of the broader scope of evaluation. The currentissue of NDE, on the 25th anniversary of AEA, looks not back but ahead.Because NDE is a thematic and guest-edited journal it tends to favormore mature, self-assured voices in evaluation. The journal format doesnot lend itself easily to showcasing the voices of novice evaluators, thosejust entering the field and who will be the next generation of evaluationpractitioners and theoreticians. As such, NDE has chosen on this anniversary to highlight those voices. Included are a number of chapters thatbuild on what evaluation has already learned from other disciplines byintroducing us to new possibilities. We are also challenged in the chaptersto think about techniques or methods we use, both at a practicaland conceptual level. Some chapters raise questions about who evaluatorsare, how they interact with others, and the roles they assume in theirpractice. Some young evaluators are confronting, in various ways, conundrumsin thinking about and doing evaluation within organizations, eitherfrom an external or internal perspective. And issues in usingtechnology in evaluation or challenges in evaluating technology areconsidered.
1. Sociocultural Theory: Providing More Structure to Culturally Responsive Evaluation 7
Dominica F. McBride
The author describes sociocultural theory (ST), a comprehensive theory explaining how culture influences human development, and its potential for program evaluation.
2. Making the Case for the Humanities in Evaluation Training 15
Deborah A. Smith
A humanities-informed evaluation graduate course is described. Such a course would help evaluators to deal with complexity and ambiguity.
3. Political Psychology in Evaluation: A Theoretical Framework 21
S. Marshall Perry
The author describes a framework for political psychology as applied to evaluation, a brief review of relevant literature and discussion of methodology, and an example of an evaluation informed by political psychology.
4. A Bridge Between Basic Social Science and Evaluation 27
Robert D. Blagg
Forging a strong bridge between basic social science and evaluation will involve holding evaluation to a high standard, through advancing cutting-edge empirical methods, balancing demands for accountability, and providing direction for basic social science.
5. Using Nonequivalent Dependent Variables to Reduce Internal Validity Threats in Quasi-Experiments: Rationale, History, and Examples From Practice 31
Chris L. S. Coryn, Kristin A. Hobson
The rationale for, history of, and examples from practice for using nonequivalent dependent variables to reduce internal validity threats, as well as some warrants supporting their increased use, are described.
6. Eval Comm 41
Stephanie D. H. Evergreen
A number of models and sources of inspiration for evaluators to become more mindful communicators are discussed.
7. Focus Groups in the Virtual World: Implications for the Future of Evaluation 47
Kristin L. Galloway
The experience of using focus groups electronically or online is discussed, and illustrated by a description of a focus group in an online chat room with international participants.
8. En"gendering" Evaluation: Feminist Evaluation but 'I Am NOT a Feminist!' 53
The chapter reports on research on possible reasons why many evaluators, who draw from feminist principles and research, choose not to identify as feminist in their evaluation practice and scholarship.
9. New Evaluators Addressing Health Disparities Through Community-Based Evaluation 59
Dara F. Schlueter
The author explores challenges in assessing health issues among ethnic and racially diverse populations.
10. Inside, Outside, Upside Down: Challenges and Opportunities That Frame the Future of a Novice Evaluator 65
Sheila B. Robinson
Through reflective questions, the author uses as a metaphor the popular children’s story Inside, Outside, Upside Down to illustrate the challenges of being a novice evaluator.
11. Sailing Through Relationships? On Discovering the Compass for Navigating 21st-Century Evaluation in the Pacific 71
Paula White, Amohia Boulton
This chapter describes the challenge of maintaining integrity while navigating relationships, especially at the intersection between program funders and culturally diverse communities.
12. Integrating a New Evaluation Unit With an Old Institution: See No Evil; Hear No Evil; Speak No Evil 77
Claire E. Baxter
The author focuses on issues related to the implementation and acceptance of a new evaluation unit within an organization.
13. Building the Value of Evaluation: Engaging With Reflective Practitioners 83
Teresa M. Derrick-Mills
This chapter proposes a three-pronged approach for developing and engaging reflective practitioners to build the value of evaluation.
14. Evaluation of Multinational Programs: Value and Challenges 91
Kim A. Hoffman
The author discusses the value of building robust multinational evaluations, practical considerations for gaining ethical clearances in diverse settings, and ways to accommodate projects with varied implementation processes and goals.
15. Using Organizational Memory Directories to Analyze Networks 97
Madri S. Jansen van Rensburg
This chapter describes the value of organizational memory (OM) directories and networks to improve evaluation and uses a case study to illustrate the value.
16. The Evolution of Understanding: Positioning Evaluation Within a Comprehensive Performance Management System 103
Kelci M. Price
The author discusses the complementary roles of evaluation and monitoring data, and highlights ways in which evaluation can help improve performance management systems.
17. Effectiveness Engineering: Vistas of Opportunity Beyond Merit, Worth, and Significance 111
Kurt A. Wilson
Effectiveness engineering is presented as a sensitizing concept, a new way of seeing the subset of evaluation approaches that engage goals expanding beyond a determination of merit, worth, or significance.
18. Harnessing the Power of the Electronic Health Record Data for Use in Program Evaluation 117
The author describes ways that data from electronic health records may be used, specifically from the viewpoint of empowerment evaluation, including as a viable secondary data source.
19. Utilizing Emerging Technology in Program Evaluation 123
Matthew Galen, Deborah Grodzicki
The authors propose that the roles and responsibilities of the evaluator will shift as current evaluation approaches are adapted to make effective use of technological tools.
20. Online Learning Programs: Evaluation's Challenging Future 129
This chapter identifies and responds to many of the challenges and issues related to the evaluation of online learning that will likely test evaluators in the years and decades to come.