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EVAL 6000: Foundations of Evaluation. Dr. Chris L. S. Coryn Kristin A. Hobson Fall 2011. Agenda. Stage One theories Donald T. Campbell Questions and discussion Encyclopedia of Evaluation entries.

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eval 6000 foundations of evaluation

EVAL 6000: Foundations of Evaluation

Dr. Chris L. S. Coryn

Kristin A. Hobson

Fall 2011

agenda
Agenda
  • Stage One theories
    • Donald T. Campbell
  • Questions and discussion
  • Encyclopedia of Evaluation entries
slide3

“We would improve program evaluation if we were alert to opportunities to move closer to the experimental model”

— Donald T. Campbell

biographical sketch
Biographical Sketch
  • Born in 1917, died in 1996
  • Ph.D. in Psychology, University of California, Berkeley
  • Author or more than 235 publications
  • Recipient of numerous honorary degrees, awards, and prizes
  • Intellectual work included psychological theory, methods, sociology of science, and epistemology
campbell s view of evaluation
Campbell’s View of Evaluation
  • Evaluation should be a part of a rational society in which decisions depend on the results of rigorous tests of bold attempts to improve social problems
  • Evaluators should play a servant-methodologist role rather than an advisory role commensurate with democratic values
campbell s influence
Campbell’s Influence
  • Lionized as the father of scientific evaluation
  • Developed and legitimated scientific methods of evaluation
  • The utopian view of an ‘experimenting society’
campbell s major contributions
Campbell’s Major Contributions
  • Evolutionary epistemology
  • Validity theory and threats to validity
  • Experimental and quasi-experimental methods
  • Open, mutually reinforcing but critical commentary on knowledge claims (a disputatious community of truth seekers)
randomized experiments
Randomized Experiments
  • Provide ‘best’ scientific evidence of cause-and-effect relationships
  • Premised on expectancy of equivalence of units through randomly assigning units to two or more conditions
  • Priority is to reduce internal validity threats
validity
Validity
  • The approximate truthfulness or correctness of an inference or conclusion
    • Supported by relevant evidence as being true or correct
    • Such evidence comes from both empirical findings and the consistency of those findings coupled with other sources of knowledge
    • Is a human judgment and fallible
    • Not an either or claim, it is one of degree
major types of validity
Major Types of Validity
  • Internal validity: The validity of inferences about whether the relationship between two variables is causal.
  • Construct validity: The degree to which inferences are warranted from the observed persons, settings, treatments, and cause-effect operations sampled within a study to the constructs that these samples represent.
  • External validity: The validity of inferences about whether a causal relationship holds over variations in persons, settings, treatment variables, and measurement variables.
  • Statistical conclusion validity: The validity of inferences about the covariation between two variables.
threats to internal validity
Threats to Internal Validity
  • Ambiguous temporal precedence: Lack of clarity about which variable occurred first may yield confusion about which variable is the cause and which is the effect
  • Selection: Systematic differences over conditions in respondent characteristics that could also cause the observed effect
  • History: Events occurring concurrently with treatment that could cause the observed effect
  • Maturation: Naturally occurring changes over time could be confused with a treatment effect
threats to internal validity1
Threats to Internal Validity
  • Regression: When units are selected for their extreme scores, they will often have less extreme scores on other variables, an occurrence that can be confused with a treatment effect
  • Attrition: Loss of respondents to treatment of to measurement can produce artifactual effects if that loss is systematically correlated with conditions
  • Testing: Exposure to a test can affect scores on subsequent exposures to that test, an occurrence that can be confused with a treatment effect
  • Instrumentation: The nature of a measure may change over time or conditions in a way that could be confused with a treatment effect
  • Additive and interactive threats: The impact of a threat can be additive to that of another threat or may depend on the level of another threat
campbell s theory of social programming
Campbell’s Theory of Social Programming
  • Three worlds
    • The current world: Client needs are not the driving force behind political and administrative behavior
    • The current world as it can be marginally modified: Improvement through demonstrations
    • The utopian world: Critical reality checks and the experimenting society
campbell s theory of knowledge construction
Campbell’s Theory of Knowledge Construction
  • Grounded in epistemological relativism (knowledge is impossible without active knowers)
  • Never knowing what is true and imperfectly knowing what is false
  • Evolutionary theory of knowledge growth
  • Not all methods yield equally strong inferences
campbell s theory of valuing
Campbell’s Theory of Valuing
  • Valuing should be left to the political process, not researchers (descriptive valuing)
  • Evaluators are not the arrogant guardians of truth
  • Multidimensional measurement that is inclusive of democratic values
campbell s theory of knowledge use
Campbell’s Theory of Knowledge Use
  • Use is the concern of the political process, not evaluators
  • Evaluations are only worth using if they have withstood the most rigorous tests
  • Most concerned with misuse
    • Methodological biases
    • Control of content or dissemination
campbell s theory of evaluation practice
Campbell’s Theory of Evaluation Practice
  • Application of experimental design to answer summative questions
  • Priority given to internal validity
  • Theoretical explanation is best left to basic researchers
  • Evaluation resources should be focused on pilot and demonstration projects
encyclopedia entries
Encyclopedia Entries
  • Bias
  • Causation
  • Checklists
  • Chelimsky, Eleanor
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Countenance Model of Evaluation
  • Critical Theory Evaluation
  • Effectiveness
  • Efficiency
  • Empiricism
  • Independence
  • Evaluability Assessment
  • Evaluation Use
  • Fournier, Deborah
  • Positivism
  • Relativism
  • Responsive evaluation
  • Stake, Robert
  • Thick Description
  • Utilization of Evaluation
  • Weiss, Carol
  • Wholey, Joseph