SAGE Journal Articles

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Journal Article 1: Guyadeen, D., & Seasons, M. (2016). Evaluation theory and practice. Journal of Planning Education and Research.

Abstract: This article reviews the major approaches of program evaluation and evaluation in planning. The challenges to evaluating plans and planning are discussed, including the reliance on ex ante evaluations, a lack of outcome evaluation methodologies, the attribution gap, and institutional hurdles. Areas requiring further research are also highlighted, including the need to develop appropriate evaluation methodologies; creating stronger linkages between program evaluation and evaluation in planning; examining the institutional and political contexts guiding the use (and misuse) of evaluation in practice; and the importance of training and educating planners on evaluation.

Journal Article 2: Sturges, K. M., & Howley, C. (2017). Responsive meta-evaluation: A participatory approach to enhancing evaluation qualityAmerican Journal of Evaluation38, 126–137.

Abstract: In an era of ever-deepening budget cuts and a concomitant demand for substantiated programsmany organizations have elected to conduct internal program evaluationsInternal evaluations offer advantages (e.g., enhanced evaluator program knowledge and ease of data collection) but may confront important challenges, including credibility threats, conflicts of interest, and power struggles. Thus, demand for third-party meta-evaluation may be on the rise to offset such limitations. Drawing on the example of a moderately large and fairly complex five-year program to build state department of education capacity to implement federal education law, this article explores the development and use of external responsive meta-evaluation (RME) to build evaluator capacity, enhance the evaluation's quality, optimize evaluation use, and minimize conflict. After describing RME, the authors discuss its activities, strengths, and limitations through the case example of the Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center. The article concludes with recommendations for adapting RME for use in various settings.

Journal Article 3: Kushner, S. (2015). Chasing the McGuffin: Towards the continuing reform of program evaluation. Evaluation21, 204–215.

Abstract: This article focuses its attention on the contemporary need for reform of evaluation and its use--reform in the direction of greater emphasis on localism, on generalizing from small samples and emphasizing direct observation of program interactions. None of these propositions is novel, but it is necessary to reinvent methodological wheels from time to time. As evaluation has become internalized into the administrative system it has been drawn to the business of generalizing beyond and across contexts, seeking to make definitive statements about a program, a domain or a population and assuming that program results are a measure of program quality. This serves the information needs of managers and the policy shaping community--less so those of practitioners whose generalizations are often limited to context. But underlying this is a conflict between distinct forms of knowledge: knowledge for control and knowledge for action. Evaluation is too frequently pressed into the service of the former. A rhetorical device is used to distinguish programme quality as a results measurement from programme quality as the rigorous analysis of programme experience and values. This is Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘McGuffin’ - the objective of a plot which is irrelevant in itself, but which gives meaning to the chase.