Evaluation: An Integrated Framework for Understanding, Guiding, and Improving Policies and Programs

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"This is one of the most coherent and comprehensive theories ofevaluation yet formulated and one that makes a most valuablecontribution. The authors are pioneering in important newdirections."
--Ernest R. House, author of Professional Evaluation and Evaluatingwith Validity

"This book is the best I've ever read detailing a practical theoryof evaluation. It is comprehensive, beautifully written, and makessense of the evaluation enterprise. It does so by emphasizing themajor function of evaluation as sense-making about policies andprograms."
--Thomas D. Cook, professor, sociology, psychology, education, andpublic policy, Northwestern University

Programs that serve the needs of the public continually facechanges brought by social, political, and economic forces. Tosurvive these changes, organizations must evaluate their programswisely and realistically. This book offers a new approach toevaluation, one that will encourage all kinds of organizations andagencies to improve their contributions to social betterment. Theauthors draw from three decades of evaluation practice and theoryto present their own framework for conceptualizing evaluation andfor pragmatically assessing social policies and programs.

They analyze four purposes of evaluation:

* To review the merit of programs and their value to society
* To improve the organization and its services
* To ensure program compliance with mandates
* To build knowledge and expertise for future programs

For the practitioner, these purposes help define the approach andmethods for an evaluation. The authors also enrich their discussionwith four possible modes of inquiry: description, classification,causal analysis, and values inquiry. Filled with tables, charts,and figures, this resource invites organizations to make the mostappropriate programming decisions based on thoughtful andsystematic methods. Evaluation: An Integrated Framework forUnderstanding, Guiding, and Improving Policies and Programs is atool that scholars can use to rejuvenate their view of evaluationand that practitioners can use to integrate the best techniqueswith a contemporary understanding of social policy and change.

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Contents

Introducing a Framework for Evaluation
3
Understanding Social Betterment
18
Defining Evaluation Purposes
63
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

GARY HENRY professor of Public Administration, Political Science, and Educational Policy Studies at Georgia State and co-editor-in-chief of New Directions for Evaluation.

MELVIN MARKS professor of psychology at Penn State and editor of the American Journal of Evaluation.

GEORGE JULNES assistant professor of Psychology in the Research and Evaluation Methodology at Utah State University.
The authors combine varied backgrounds in research methods, public administration, psychology, and education which should help this book reach varied audiences.

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