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Evaluation in Action: Interviews with Expert Evaluators

by Jody Fitzpatrick, Christina Christie and Melvin M Mark SAGE Publications, Inc
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Pbk 472 pages
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Edited by Jody Fitzpatrick, Melvin Mark, and Christina Christie, Evaluation in Action takes readers behind the scenes of real evaluations and introduces them to the issues faced and decisions made by notable evaluators in the field. The book builds on ''Exemplars,'' a popular section in the American Journal of Evaluation (AJE), in which a well-known evaluator is interviewed about an evaluation he or she has conducted. Through a dialogue between the evaluator and the interviewer, the reader learns about the problems the evaluator faced in conducting the evaluation and the choices and compromises he or she chose to make. The book includes twelve interviews illustrating a variety of evaluation practices in different settings, along with commentary and analysis concerning what the interviews teach us about evaluation practice and ways to inform our own practice.Intended Audience/The book is ideal for both students and faculty in courses in program evaluation as well as professionals working as program evaluators.

Extended examples of how evaluation is actually practiced, the real pressures and choices evaluators face, the decisions they have to make, and a sense of how they make these decisions in the context of real-life evaluations.
A guiding matrix and discussion of the different ways in which the interviews may be grouped and read, which will help students and practitioners looking for more information and insight on particular issues.
Twelve interviews and cases chosen to represent (a) different settings (e.g., welfare reform, higher education, mental health, K-12 education, public health); (b) different types of evaluations (e.g., formative, summative, needs assessment, process, outcome); (c) different approaches (e.g., participatory, theory-based, research-oriented, decision-oriented); (d) different arenas (e.g., federal, regional, state, local); (e) and different levels of resources (large and small studies);
Following each interview are commentaries and analyses concerning what the interviews teach us about evaluation practice and ways to inform one's own practice as well as discussion questions that provoke the reader to consider the key issues of the interview and how one interview and experience may contrast with another.

Introductory and Summary chapters that cover the major types of evaluations and the lessons that emerge from the interviewee's experiences, all of which helps to firmly ground the information and issues presented in each interview

Chapter 1: Evaluation and Its Practice: Some Key Considerations and Choices
Part I: Traditional Evaluations with a Primary purpose of Judging Merit and Worth
Chapter 2: The Evaluation of GAIN: A Welfare-to-Work Program in California, An Interview with James A. Riccio
Chapter 3: Evaluation of the Natural Resources Leadership Program, 1995 through 1998, An Interview with Jennifer C. Greene
Chapter 4: The Evaluation of the Ft. Bragg and Stark County Systems of Care for Children and Adolescents, An Interview with Len Bickman
Part II: Evaluations with a Focus on Description
Chapter 5: The Evaluation of the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP), An Interview with David Fetterman
Chapter 6: The Evaluation of the Homeless Families Program, An Interview with Debra J. Rog
Chapter 7: The Council for School Performance: Performance Reports for Georgia Schools, An Interview with Gary T. Henry
Part III: Evaluations with an Emphasis on Program Planning and Organizational Development
Chapter 8: Evaluation of the Special Education Program at the Anoka-Hennepin School District, An Interview with Jean A. King
Chapter 9: Evaluation of the Work and Health Initiative with a Focus on Winning New Jobs, An Interview with Stewart I. Donaldson
Chapter 10: Developing an Evaluation System for the Corporate Education Development and Training (CEDT) Department at Sandia National Laboratories, An Interview with Hallie Preskill
Chapter 11: Evaluation of the Colorado Healthy Communities Initiative, An Interview with Ross Conner
Part IV: Evaluations Concerning Cultural Competence
Chapter 12: Evaluation of the Fun with Books Program, An Interview with Katrina Bledsoe
Chapter 13: Evaluation of Godfrey?s Children Center in Tanzania, An Interview with Allan Wallis and Victor Dukay
Part V: Analysis, Interpretations, and Conclusions
Chapter 14: Exemplars? Choices: What Do These Cases Tell Us About Practice?
Chapter 15: Analyzing the Practice of Evaluation: What Do these Cases Tell Us About Theory?
Appendix I: Other Categories for the Interviews
About the Authors

"As one of the few collections of evaluator applied reasoning and practical insights, this volume is a useful resource for students, practitioners,and theorists/methodologists who want to better understand how evaluators think in practice and make decisions; how flow of workand events arising in the field shape the nature and use of evaluation theory, method, and practice."
Jody L. Fitzpatrick is Director of the Masters in Public Administration Program and an Associate Professor with the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver. She is the author ofProgram Evaluation: Alternative Approaches and Practical Guidelines (Third Edition, Pearson, 2004; with James Sanders and Blaine Worthen). Dr. Fitzpatricks interests include evaluation practice, ethics, and education policy. Dr. Fitzpatrick has many years of experience conducting evaluations, first as an internal evaluator in Appalachia and New York and then as an external evaluator in a variety of settings. She has published inEvaluation Review, American Journal of Evaluation, and New Directions for Evaluation and has served on the Board of the American Evaluation Association and as Associate Editor of theAmerican Journal of Evaluation. .