What features of the situation should the evaluation plan take into account?
- Purposes of the evaluation:
- program improvement (formative evaluation),
- accountability (summative evaluation),
- knowledge generation,
- hidden agendas (public relations, support a decision that has already been made).
- Program structure and circumstances:
- stage of program development (new or established program),
- Administrative and political context of the program (stakeholder agreement, political values and ideology, Guba and Lincoln argued that the proper role of the evaluator is to encourage interpretive dialogue among the program stakeholders, facilitate negotiations from which the values and social significance of the program can be shared),
- program theory (the conceptualization of the program, the logic that connects its activities to the intended outcomes),
- organizational structure.
- Resources available for the evaluation:access to personnel and stakeholders,
- equipment and facilities,
- specialized expertise,
- access to program records, documents, and other critical data sources.
Three major types of evaluator stakeholder relationships
- Independent evaluation: the evaluator takes primary responsibility for designing and conducting the evaluation.
- Participatory or collaborative evaluation: the evaluations conducted as a team project involving stakeholders – similar to Patton's utilization – focused evaluation in which close collaboration with those who will use the evaluation findings to ensure that the evaluation is responsive to their needs and produces useful information is emphasized.
- Empowerment evaluation: the evaluation is designed to help develop the capabilities of the participating stakeholders in ways that enhance their skills or political influence.
The main types of concerns and methods of evaluation
- The need for services: needs assessment.
- Conceptualization and design of a program: assessment of program theory.
- Implementation of a program: process evaluation or program monitoring.
- Program outcomes: impact assessment.
- Program efficiency: efficiency assessment – can take the form of cost-benefit analysis or cost-effectiveness analysis.