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The fourth edition includes many changes:

• A new chapter on the role of politics in evaluation and ethical considerations. • A new and reorganized Part Two that presents and discusses the most current

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• A new chapter on the role of politics in evaluation and ethical considerations. • A new and reorganized Part Two that presents and discusses the most current approaches and theories of evaluation
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approaches and theories of evaluation. • An increased focus on mixed methods in design, data collection, and analysis. • Links to interviews with evaluators who conducted an evaluation that illus-

trates the concepts reviewed in that chapter, as they discuss the choices and challenges they faced.

• A discussion of how today’s focus on performance measurement, outcomes, impacts, and standards have influenced evaluation.

• New sections on organizational learning, evaluation capacity building, mainstreaming evaluation, and cultural competence––trends in evaluation and organizations.

Evaluation, today, is changing in a variety of ways. Policymakers, managers, citizens, and consumers want better tracking of activities and outcomes. More importantly, many want a better understanding of social problems and the programs and policies being undertaken to reduce these problems. Evaluation in many forms, including performance measurement and outcome or impact assessments, is ex- panding around the globe. People who work in organizations are also interested in evaluation as a way to enhance organizational learning. They want to know how well they’re doing, how to tackle the tough problems their organizations address, and how to improve their performance and better serve their clients and their

Preface

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community. Many different methods are being developed and used: mixed meth- ods for design and data collection, increased involvement of new and different stakeholders in the evaluation process, expanded consideration of the potential uses and impacts of evaluation, and more effective and diverse ways to communicate findings. As evaluation expands around the world, the experiences of adapting eval- uation to different settings and different cultures are enriching the field.

In this new edition, we hope to convey to you the dynamism and creativity involved in conducting evaluation. Each of us has many years of experience in conducting evaluations in a variety of settings, including schools, public welfare agencies, mental health organizations, environmental programs, nonprofit organ- izations, and corporations. We also have years of experience teaching students how to use evaluation in their own organizations or communities. Our goal is, and always has been, to present information that readers can use either to conduct or to be a participant in evaluations that make a difference to their workplace, their clients, and their community. Let us tell you a bit more about how we hope to do that in this new edition.

Organization of This Text

The book is organized in four parts. Part One introduces the reader to key concepts in evaluation; its history and current trends; and ethical, political, and interper- sonal factors that permeate and transcend all phases of evaluation. Evaluation dif- fers from research in that it is occurring in the real world with the goal of being used by non-researchers to improve decisions, governance, and society. As a result, evaluators develop relationships with their users and stakeholders and work in a political environment in which evaluation results compete with other demands on decision makers. Evaluators must know how to work in such envi- ronments to get their results used. In addition, ethical challenges often present themselves. We find the ways in which evaluation differs from research to be both challenging and interesting. It is why we chose evaluation as our life’s work. In Part One, we introduce you to these differences and to the ways evaluators work in this public, political context.

In Part Two, we present several different approaches, often called models or theories, to evaluation. (Determining whether objectives or outcomes have been achieved isn’t the only way to approach evaluation!) Approaches influence how evaluators determine what to study and how they involve others in what they study. We have expanded our discussions of theory-based, decision-oriented, and participatory approaches. In doing so, we describe new ways in which evaluators use logic models and program theories to understand the workings of a program. Participatory and transformative approaches to empowering stakeholders and creating different ways of learning are described and contrasted. Evaluators must know methodology, but they also must know about different approaches to eval- uation to consciously and intelligently choose the approach or mix of approaches that is most appropriate for the program, clients, and stakeholders and context

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