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Evaluation Essentials, Second Edition


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Table of Contents

A. What Is Evaluation?
B. Why do Evaluations?
C. Who Does Evaluations?
D. Contracting for Evaluations
E. Who Are the Stakeholders for an Evaluation?
F. How Do You Strengthen Relationships with Stakeholders?
G. How Do You Describe the Program?
H. What Is the Organizational, Community, and Political Context of the Program?
I. How Do You "Understand" the Program?
J. What Are the Questions/Issues to be Addressed?
K. What Are Instruments for Collecting Quantitative Data?
L. What Are Instruments for Collecting Qualitative Data?
M. How Do Data Collection Issues Impact Potential Evaluability?
N. Are the Questions Evaluable?
O. How Do We Plan a Process-Focused Evaluation Design?
P. How Do We Plan an Outcome-Focused Evaluation?
Q. How Do We Manage the Evaluation?
R. How Are Quantitative Data Analyzed?
S. How Are Qualitative Data Analyzed?
T. How Are Analyzed Data Used to Answer Questions?
U. How Are Evaluation Results Reported?
V. What is the Evaluator's Role in Helping Evaluations to Be Used?
W. What Are the Evaluation Standards and Codes of Behavior?
X. How Are Costs Analyzed?
Y. What Is the "Theme" of This Book?
Z. How Can You Embark on a Program to Learn More about Evaluation?
Appendix A. Factors Affecting Evaluation Use
Appendix B. An Evaluation Lesson
Appendix C. Use Factors--Relationship to Research Compilations

About the Author

Marvin C. Alkin, EdD, is Professor Emeritus in the Social Research Methodology Division of the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He has been a member of the UCLA faculty since 1964, and at various times has served as Chair of the Education Department and Associate Dean of the School. Dr. Alkin is a founder and former Director of the Center for the Study of Evaluation, which was established in 1966 by the U. S. government and which continues to be an integral part of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. A leading authority in the field of evaluation, he is best known for his work on the use of evaluation information in decision making and on comparative evaluation theory. Dr. Alkin is a recipient of the Lazarsfeld Evaluation Theory Award and the Research on Evaluation Award from the American Evaluation Association. He has published more than 150 journal articles, book chapters, books, and technical reports; has consulted to numerous national governments; and has directed over 100 program evaluations in the United States and internationally. Anne T. Vo, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Clinical Medical Education at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC). Dr. VoaEURO (TM)s substantive interests as an evaluation scholar-practitioner lie at the intersection of comparative evaluation theory, evaluation capacity building, and organizational development. Her research, publications, and evaluation practice contribute to the field's understanding of how evaluation can be practiced better, where and how social science theory and evaluation science dovetail into each other, and how this knowledge can be leveraged to drive change. Dr. Vo established the Keck Evaluation, Institutional Reporting, and Assessment Office at USC, which aims to support the transformation of medical training through research, service, and education, and currently serves as Associate Director. She holds leadership positions in the American Educational Research Association and the American Evaluation Association and serves as Editor of the section on Teaching and Learning Evaluation of the American Journal of Evaluation.


"This second edition is all I could hope for to teach an introductory class on evaluation--at nearly any level, undergraduate or graduate. Experienced evaluators also can benefit from the clear, elegant explanations. Reading Evaluation Essentials has served as an opportunity for me to revisit and refresh my own answers to the various 'whats,' 'whys,' 'whos,' and 'hows' of evaluation. Many evaluation texts are pedantic, but not this one, which has a lively, conversational style. I especially appreciate the detailed case study accompanied by questions in each section that invite readers to apply what they have learned."--Sharon F. Rallis, EdD, Dwight W. Allen Distinguished Professor of Education Policy and Reform, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

"The strengths of this book are many. Students (and I) felt that they were learning from a very experienced evaluator. Alkin and Vo cover the key steps in an evaluation and clearly lay out the technical and practical details, including the writing of good, evaluable questions, which I generally find lacking in the literature. The easy-to-read, jargon-free language makes the book very accessible for novice evaluators. The case study exercises throughout the book help bring the concepts to life for students, and provide teachers with discussion questions for class participation."--Jill Anne Chouinard, PhD, School of Education, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

"I will continue to use Evaluation Essentials in teaching because its clarity, accessibility, and emphasis on relationship building are unparalleled in the field. This book provides careful explanations for why mixed methods--and sometimes very inventive ways of pursuing truth--are necessary in conducting accurate, comprehensive, and useful evaluations. The authors do a fantastic job of emphasizing that evaluators need to appreciate the sociopolitical context within which they work if they are to realize success."--Rick Sperling, PhD, Department of Psychology, St. Mary's University, Texas

"The second edition makes an already good book even better. Extending the RUPAS case study with the new thought questions is stimulating and useful for teaching and learning purposes. This text is particularly useful for providing students without an evaluation background with a nontechnical, straightforward, comprehensive introduction to the field. It covers virtually all the topics that a prospective evaluator is likely to run into in practice. Students in my graduate course often mentioned this 'ease of entry' into evaluation as a key strength of the book."--Robert J. Flynn, PhD, School of Psychology (Emeritus), University of Ottawa, Canada

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