3rd Edition

Evaluation Essentials, Third Edition From A to Z

    Beloved for its conversational style and reliable advice, this text is now in a revised and updated third edition, reflecting key developments in evaluation. It includes expanded coverage of equity and social justice issues, values and cost analysis, visualizing qualitative data with software, and more. Twenty-six concise chapters or "sessions" give students, applied researchers, and program administrators a solid foundation for conducting or using evaluations. Covering both quantitative and qualitative methods, the book emphasizes fostering evaluation use. It shows how to build collaborative relationships with users; formulate answerable evaluation questions; deal with contingencies that might alter the traditional sequence of an evaluation; and collect, analyze, and report data. Student-friendly features throughout the sessions include titles written as questions, bulleted recaps, "Thinking Ahead" and "Next Steps" pointers, cautionary notes, and annotated suggestions for further reading. An in-depth case study provides the basis for end-of-session practice exercises.

    New to This Edition
    *New sessions on context-sensitive evaluation, including the organizational, sociopolitical, and community contexts of a program.
    *New or expanded discussions of timely topics: identifying evaluation decision makers, analyzing program costs, coding and visualizing qualitative data with software, and more.
    *Updated suggestions for further reading and discussion in every chapter.

    Session A. What Is Evaluation?
    Session B. Why Do Evaluations?
    Session C. Who Does Evaluations?
    Session D. Who Are the Users of an Evaluation?
    Session E. How Do You Strengthen Relationships with Users?
    Session F. How Do You Describe the Program?
    Session G. How Do You “Understand” the Program?
    Session H. What Are the Questions and Issues to Be Addressed?
    Session I. What Are the Sociopolitical and Community Contexts of the Program?
    Session J. What Is the Organizational Context of the Program?
    Session K. What Are Instruments for Collecting Quantitative Data?
    Session L. What Are Instruments for Collecting Qualitative Data?
    Session M. How Do Data Collection Issues Impact Potential Evaluability?
    Session N. Are the Questions Evaluable?
    Session O. How Do We Plan for Process-Focused Evaluation?
    Session P. How Do We Plan for Outcome-Focused Evaluation?
    Session Q. How Do We Manage the Evaluation?
    Session R. How Are Quantitative Data Analyzed?
    Session S. How Are Qualitative Data Analyzed?
    Session T. How Are Analyzed Data Used to Answer Questions?
    Session U. How Are Evaluation Results Reported?
    Session V. What Is the Evaluator’s Role in Evaluation Use?
    Session W. What Are the Evaluation Standards and Codes of Behavior?
    Session X. Contracting for Evaluations
    Session Y. How Are Costs Analyzed?
    Session Z. Context Sensitive Evaluation: Attaining Evaluation Use
    Appendix A. Use Factors: Relationship to Research Compilations
    Appendix B. How Can You Embark on a Program to Learn More about Evaluation?
    Appendix C. An Evaluation Lesson, by “Unknown Student”
    About the Authors


    Marvin C. Alkin, EdD, is Emeritus Professor in the Social Research Methods Division in the School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He has written extensively on evaluation practice, evaluation utilization, and comparative evaluation theory. Dr. Alkin is a founder and former Director of the UCLA Center for the Study of Evaluation. He has been a consultant to six national governments and has conducted more than 85 evaluations of a variety of educational, governmental, and foundation programs. He is a recipient of the Lazarsfeld Evaluation Theory Award and the Research on Evaluation Award from the American Evaluation Association.

    Anne T. Vo, PhD, is Associate Professor of Health Systems Science and Senior Director of Assessment and Evaluation at the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine, where she leads the development and execution of the school’s educational evaluation strategies and policies. As a research methodologist and systems scientist, Dr. Vo has provided consultation services and evaluation support to more than 35 social services programs and organizations, using community-driven and equity-oriented methods. She has published a number of peer-reviewed journal articles and has held regional and national leadership roles with the American Evaluation Association, the American Educational Research Association, and the Southern California Evaluation Association.

    Christina A. Christie, PhD, is the Wasserman Dean and Professor in the School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research is designed to strengthen understanding of evaluation as a method for facilitating social change and to advance frameworks for understanding evaluation models, with the goal of refining practice. Dr. Christie is a recipient of the Marcia Guttentag Early Career Award and the Research on Evaluation Award from the American Evaluation Association (AEA), as well as the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Research on Evaluation Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association. She has served on the board of AEA and as an associate editor and section editor of the American Journal of Evaluation.

    "Alkin, Vo, and Christie invite you into 26 sessions (A-Z) where they guide, coach, and mentor you through the challenging evaluation landscape to conduct high-quality, useful evaluations. Follow their guidance. Practice their coaching tips. Absorb their mentoring wisdom. You will gain confidence as a practitioner, and like the authors--like me--you might just fall in love with evaluation."--Michael Quinn Patton, PhD, Director, Utilization-Focused Evaluation, Saint Paul, Minnesota

    "Imagine being new to evaluation and having the opportunity to learn about the field from three generations of evaluators, each bringing their own perspective and considerable experience as scholars and practitioners. This book provides students and new evaluators with a comprehensive breakdown of the many processes involved in evaluation, including evaluation design, writing evaluation questions, collecting and analyzing data, and reporting to diverse audiences. My students love this text--they feel engaged and connected to the authors from the moment they open it. The third edition gives additional attention to working in sociopolitical and cultural contexts and building evaluation relationships with diverse participants, and has updated readings and thought questions throughout. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about the practice of evaluation in a fun and easy-to-read format."--Jill Anne Chouinard, PhD, Professor and Director, School of Public Administration, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada-