Program Evaluation Theory and Practice : A Comprehensive Guide book cover
2nd Edition

Program Evaluation Theory and Practice
A Comprehensive Guide

  • This format cannot be shipped to your selected country.
ISBN 9781462532759
Published December 7, 2018 by Guilford Press
620 Pages

FREE Standard Shipping

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

The leading text that covers both the theory and practice of evaluation in one engaging volume has now been revised and updated with additional evaluation approaches (such as mixed methods and principles-focused evaluation) and new methods (such as technologically based strategies). The book features examples of small- and large-scale evaluations from a range of fields, many with reflective commentary from the evaluators; helpful checklists; and carefully crafted learning activities. Major theoretical paradigms in evaluation--and the ways they inform methodological choices--are explained. Readers learn effective strategies for clarifying their own theoretical assumptions; working with stakeholders; developing questions; using quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods designs; selecting data collection and sampling strategies; analyzing data; and communicating and utilizing findings. The new companion website provides extensive recommended online resources and tools, organized by chapter.

New to This Edition
*Additional evaluation approaches: collaborative evaluation, principles-focused evaluation, and desk reviews.
*Coverage of new data collection technologies and methods of qualitative coding.
*Expanded discussions of logic models, cost–benefit analysis, and mixed methods designs.
*Many new and updated sample studies.

Pedagogical Features
*Reflection questions that prepare students to read each chapter.
*"Extending Your Thinking" questions and practical activities.
*Boxes delving into key concepts and example studies.
*End-of-book Glossary, and highlighted key terms throughout.
*Companion website with links to helpful resources on all aspects of evaluation.

Table of Contents

I. The Landscape of Evaluation
1. Introduction to Evaluation: Defining Terms and Ethical Considerations
2. Framing Evaluation: Paradigms, Branches, and Theories
II. Historical and Contemporary Evaluation Paradigms, Branches, Theories, and Approaches
3. The Postpositivist Paradigm and the Methods Branch
4. The Pragmatic Paradigm and the Use Branch
5. The Constructivist Paradigm and the Values Branch
6. The Transformative Paradigm and the Social Justice Branch
III. Planning Evaluations
7. Working with Stakeholders: Establishing the Context and the Evaluand
8. Evaluation Purposes, Types, and Questions
9. Evaluation Designs
10. Data Collection Strategies and Indicators
11. Stakeholders, Participants, and Sampling
12. Data Analysis and Interpretation
IV. Implementation in Evaluation: Communication and Utilization of Findings, Management, Meta-Evaluation, and Challenges
13. Communication and Utilization of Findings
14. Meta-Evaluation and Project Management
15. Perennial and Emerging Issues in Evaluation
Abbreviation Dictionary

View More



Donna M. Mertens, PhD, is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Educational Foundations and Research at Gallaudet University, where she taught advanced research methods and program evaluation to deaf and hearing students. She received the Distinguished Faculty Award from Gallaudet. The primary focus of her work is transformative mixed methods inquiry in diverse communities, with priority given to the ethical implications of research in pursuit of social justice. A past president of the American Evaluation Association (AEA), Dr. Mertens provided leadership in the development of the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation and the establishment of the AEA Diversity Internship Program with Duquesne University. She has received AEA’s highest honors for service to the organization and the field, as well as for her contributions to evaluation theory. She is the author of several books and is widely published in major professional journals. Dr. Mertens conducts and consults on evaluations in many countries, including Chile, Japan, Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Egypt, India, South Africa, Botswana, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, and Costa Rica.

Amy T. Wilson, PhD, is Director of Mill Neck International at the Mill Neck Family of Organizations, where she leads a team of deaf education specialists who share their expertise, knowledge, and technical skills with parents, educators, and professionals in economically poor countries. Dr. Wilson was a professor in the Department of Educational Foundations and Research at Gallaudet University for 14 years. After living in developing countries and noting the poor assistance people with disabilities were receiving from U.S. development organizations, she developed Gallaudet’s MA degree in International Development. The degree, which is the only one of its kind in the United States, focuses on the inclusion of people with disabilities in development assistance programs and in nongovernmental, federal, and faith-based development organizations both in the United States and overseas. Dr. Wilson was Program Director of the International Development Program; she also taught deaf and hearing students research and evaluation, theory and practice of international development, micropolitics, community development with people with disabilities, multicultural education, and gender, disability, and development. Dr. Wilson evaluates and advises development organizations and agencies (e.g., U.S. Agency for International Development, the InterAmerican Development Bank, the World Bank, and the Peace Corps) about the inclusiveness of their programs, as well as their effectiveness with various disability communities.


"This textbook combines theory with concrete practical applications. The diverse case examples threaded throughout the chapters provide for a truly interdisciplinary text. The reflective commentaries from evaluators and the extended learning activities give students a deeper understanding. Features that set this text apart from others include the logical flow, which aligns with the process of evaluation; pedagogical activities in each chapter; explanations of the theoretical foundations of different evaluation approaches; and checklists and tables that students will continue to use as resources as they move through their programs and into practice.”--Kristin L. K. Koskey, PhD, Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership, University of Akron

"If I were permitted only one text to introduce students to the breadth of evaluation theory, methods, and practice, this would sit at the top of the list. The updated second edition offers the beginner an accessible, lively treatment of the distinctive approaches and techniques that make evaluation a uniquely exciting enterprise. Each chapter richly illustrates how an evaluator’s most basic assumptions inform choices in the field and distinguish evaluation from other applied forms of inquiry. Contemporary examples are drawn from diverse problem areas and settings, providing a window into the dilemmas, issues, and challenges confronting evaluators. Readers will discover a wide array of ideas and resources to support their successful design and execution of evaluation projects."--Robin Lin Miller, PhD, Department of Psychology, Michigan State University

"One of the reasons I selected this text for my course is its strong coverage of evaluation with marginalized and vulnerable populations, a topic that has been getting increasing attention in the field. Issues of social justice, power and privilege, and cultural competence are woven throughout.”--Colleen Fisher, PhD, Department of Social Work, University of Alabama at Birmingham

"The primary strength of this book is its grounding in principles of cultural responsiveness, social justice, and the transformative power of evaluation. It occupies a unique space in a sea of 'value-neutral' evaluation textbooks. I also appreciate the real-life evaluation examples. It is rare to find such well-chosen, carefully summarized, and annotated examples to use in a course. I have yet to see a better example of a text that combines the theory and practice of evaluation in one volume.”--Lauren P. Saenz, PhD, Department of Education, Bowdoin College

“The authors’ discussion of paradigms opens up interesting discussions of the ethical elements in program evaluation and the role of the evaluator. This is an excellent introduction to social science theory, models of program evaluation, and the process of research design, for instructors looking for a text that minimizes purely statistical topics.”--Gerasimos "Jerry" A. Gianakis, PhD, Institute for Public Service (retired), Suffolk University