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Evaluation Methodology Basics

Evaluation Methodology Basics
The Nuts and Bolts of Sound Evaluation

November 2004 | 280 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
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.
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  
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  
Identifying Evaluative Criteria
Why Not Just Use Goals?  
Identifying Criteria: Basic Concepts and Tools  
Conducting a Needs Assessment  
Identifying Other Relevant Criteria  
Additional Readings  
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  
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  
"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  
Determining Importance
Determining Importance: What and Why  
Determining Importance: Six Strategies  
Additional Readings  
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  
Synthesis Methodology
Synthesis: What and Why  
The Role of Costs and Comparisons in Synthesis  
Synthesizing for "Grading"  
Synthesizing for "Ranking"  
Additional Readings  
Putting it All Together
The KEC Preliminary Checkpoints  
The KEC Foundations Checkpoints  
The KEC Subevaluations Checkpoints  
The KEC Conclusions Checkpoints  
Additional Readings  
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  
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  

“Amidst the wash of methods books available to evaluators, Davidson’s book provides powerful techniques for asking and answering the important foundational questions in any program evaluation.”

Doug Leigh
Pepperdine University

“This is a very well written book that offers a unique perspective on long-practiced evaluation techniques and presents several new, potentially very useful, techniques that return “valuation” to the evaluation process.”

Greg Roberts
University of Texas, Austin

"What is evaluation-specific logic and methodology?  This book answers that question in a way that is persuasive, accessible, and understandable.  It presents a set of principles and procedures to guide the task of blending descriptive data with relevant values to draw explicitly evaluative conclusions. The book makes a significant contribution to positioning evaluation as a unique and special field of inquiry and judgment."

Michael Quinn Patton
Union Institute and University

"Evaluation Methodology Basics is yet another excellent book from Sage. This would be a good book to use for a graduate-level course in evaluation techniques or as a template for anyone who is new to the techniques of program evaluation."

Annette M. Matthews
Psychiatric Services, Volume 57, Issues 10

"The text is not only a great introduction for novices, but a toolbox with new perspectives for conducting sound evaluation that integrates values with facts into evaluative conclusions. As such Evaluation Methodology Basics should be on every evaluator's shelf."

Daniela Schroeter
Canadian Journal of Evaluation

"I welcome this student-friendly text to complement my favorite checklists.  This text develops the core checklist framework to provide evaluation methodology basics for, presumably mainly, introductory courses on program evaluation."

Colin Sharp
Evaluation Journal of Australasia

Well written. Easy to follow and understand. Very informative.

Dr Kimberly Harris
Human Development and Services, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
March 9, 2014

The text provides practical steps for applying the theory of performance and program evalution.

Mr Cordell Riley
Van Loan School of Graduate & Professional Studies , Endicott College (Bermuda Program)
October 9, 2011

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