This book introduces evaluation by focusing on the main kinds of `big picture' questions that evaluations usually need to answer, and how the nature of such questions are linked to evaluation methodology choices. The author: shows how to identify the right criteria for your evaluation; discusses how to objectively figure out which criteria are more important than the others; and, delves into how to combine a mix of qualitative and quantitative data with `relevant values' (such as needs) to draw explicitly evaluative conclusions.
Jane Davidson is former Associate Director of The Evaluation Center at Western Michigan University, where she launched and directed the world's first fully interdisciplinary Ph.D. in evaluation. She is currently Director of Davidson Consulting Limited (New Zealand). Dr. Davidson received her Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University in organizational behavior, with substantial emphasis on evaluation. She has worked in various evaluation, consulting, and quality assurance-related roles in government, business, and education, and she has conducted trainings on coaching skills for managers and supervisors, training needs analysis, and customer service skills. Davidson has published in, or had work accepted for, the Encyclopedia of Evaluation (Sage), the Human Resources Program Evaluation Handbook (Sage), the International Handbook of Educational Evaluation (Kluwer), the Handbook of Organizational Culture and Climate (Sage), the Handbook of Organizational Consulting Psychology (Sage), and Foundations and Evaluation: Contexts and Practices for Effective Philanthropy (Jossey-Bass). She has also published in the journals New Directions for Evaluation and The Psychologist-Manager Journal.
What is Evaluation? Basic Definitions A Note About Fitting Evaluation Approach to Purpose The Steps Involved The Ingredients of a Good Evaluation Identifying the Evaluand Additional Readings Exercises Defining the Purpose of the Evaluation Evaluations for Determining Overall Quality or Value Evaluations for Finding Areas for Improvement Questions About Absolute vs. Relative Quality/Value Summary and Final Comments Additional Readings Exercises Identifying Evaluative Criteria Why Not Just Use Goals? Identifying Criteria: Basic Concepts and Tools Conducting a Needs Assessment Identifying Other Relevant Criteria Additional Readings Exercises Organizing the Criteria & Identifying Potential Sources of Evidence The Importance of Choosing Multiple Sources of Quality Evidence The Process Evaluation Checkpoint The Outcome Evaluation Checkpoint The Comparative Cost-Effectiveness Checkpoint The Exportability Checkpoint Additional Readings Exercises Dealing With the Causation Issue Certainty about causation Inferring causation: Basic principles Inferring causation: Seven strategies Choosing a blend of methods to address the causation issue Additional Readings Exercises "Values" in Evaluation The Controversy The Three Types of Subjectivity The Tensions Between Subjectivism and Common Sense Where do the "Values" in an Evaluation Come From? Additional Readings Exercises Determining Importance Determining Importance: What and Why Determining Importance: Six Strategies Additional Readings Exercises The Merit Determination Step Determining Merit: What and Why Using Rubrics for Determining "Absolute" Merit Using Rubrics for Determining "Relative" Merit Making practical use of merit determination rubrics Additional Readings Exercises Synthesis Methodology Synthesis: What and Why The Role of Costs and Comparisons in Synthesis Synthesizing for "Grading" Synthesizing for "Ranking" Additional Readings Exercises Putting it All Together The KEC Preliminary Checkpoints The KEC Foundations Checkpoints The KEC Subevaluations Checkpoints The KEC Conclusions Checkpoints Additional Readings Meta-Evaluation The five criteria for evaluating evaluations Key points to remember in meta-evaluation Other options for conducting a meta-evaluation Formative meta-evaluation Should I use meta-evaluation myself? Additional Readings Exercises Answers to Selected Exercises Sample Exam Questions Tips for students answering these exam questions The questions A rubric for grading assignment and exam answers Suggested answers to practice exam questions Glossary References