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NCJ Number: 49389 Find in a Library
Title: RECURRING ISSUES IN EVALUATION RESEARCH
Journal: IOWA JOURNAL OF SOCIAL WORK  Volume:7  Issue:4  Dated:SPECIAL ISSUE (DECEMBER 1976)  Pages:96-106
Author(s): G W BARGER
Corporate Author: University of Iowa
School of Social Work
United States of America
Date Published: 1976
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA 52242
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: PROBLEMS PERTAINING TO DATA COLLECTION, DATA EROSION, DEVELOPMENT OF CRITERIA, AND INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS WHICH PLAGUE EVALUATIONS OF SMALL PROJECTS ARE ASSESSED AND THEIR EFFECT ON THE FINAL EVALUATION ARE EXAMINED.
Abstract: ALTHOUGH SUCH PROBLEMS PLAGUE ALL SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH, THE LACK OF CLEARLY DEFINED GOALS, THE ABSENCE OF COMPLETE DATA, AND THE SIDE EFFECTS FROM PERSONAL INTERACTIONS AFFECT THE EVALUATIONS OF SMALL PROGRAMS. SMALL PROGRAMS ARE DEFINED AS THOSE FUNDED AT A LEVEL OF LESS THAN $200,000 FOR A 12-MONTH PERIOD AND WHICH MAY HAVE AN EVALUATION BUDGET OF $12,000 OR LESS. THESE PROGRAMS OFTEN HAVE DIFFICULTIES IN SECURING EVALUATORS. FURTHERMORE, THE EVALUATION TEAM OFTEN ARRIVES ON THE SCENE MANY MONTHS AFTER THE PROGRAM IS UNDERWAY, AND PROGRAM STAFF ARE OFTEN SUSPICIOUS OR HOSTILE TOWARD THE EVALUATORS. ALTHOUGH THOSE IN CHARGE OF SMALL PROGRAMS ARE OFTEN EXTREMELY DEDICATED INDIVIDUALS LIVING FROM GRANT TO GRANT, THEY OFTEN LACK MANAGEMENT EXPERTISE AND ARE POOR RECORDKEEPERS. THUS, FREQUENTLY THE EVALUATORS ARE PUSHED INTO A CONSULTING ROLE. AGENCIES MAY ACCEPT OR REJECT THE EVALUATORS' ADVICE, THUS COMPLICATING THE OBJECTIVITY OF THE FINAL EVALUATION. A FINAL PROBLEM COMES WHEN THE EVALUATORS MEET WITH THE VARIOUS REVIEWERS OF THE REPORT. THEY MAY FIND THAT PERSONALITY CLASHES ORIGINATING IN FAR DIFFERENT CONTEXTS OFTEN INFLUENCE THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE EVALUATION. A FINAL PROBLEM COMES IN DEFINING WHO IS THE ULTIMATE CLIENT FOR THE EVALUATION, THE AGENCY RUNNING THE PROGRAM, THE AGENCY PROVIDING THE FUNDING, OR THE CLIENTS WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO BE SERVED. GENERALLY, THE PURPORTED CLIENT IS THE ONE MOST OVERLOOKED AND EFFORTS TO INVOLVE THE RECIPIENTS OF SERVICES IN THE PROCESS ARE NOT LIKELY TO SUCCEED. THESE PROBLEMS CANNOT BE ELIMINATED; INSTEAD, THEY SHOULD BE FACED AND INCORPORATED INTO THE FINAL REPORT. THIS WILL GIVE INSIGHT INTO THE HUMAN FACTORS OPERATING AS PART OF THE PROGRAM AND WILL ENHANCE THE VALUE OF THE RESEARCH. A BIBLIOGRAPHY IS APPENDED.
Index Term(s): Behavior; Critiques; Data collections; Evaluation; Evaluation techniques; Program evaluation
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