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Program evaluations are one of the psychological techniques and it can involve equally quantitative and qualitative methods of social research.

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Psychology Techniques - Program Evaluation

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Periodic outside evaluation of every academic department is now a necessity at many private colleges and most public colleges as well.

  • The assessment classically centers on the curriculum, equipment, and services, but may also include other department concerns.
  • The consultant, a former psychologydepartment chair, conducts evaluations of psychology departments at private and public colleges and universities.

In addition, she is also an examiner for the International Baccalaureate, part of the American Psychological Association's Departmental Consulting Service, a skilled idealistic evaluator for New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and an American Psychological Association Site Visitor for official approval of doctoral programs.


Project evaluation is an efficient method for collecting, analyzing, and using information to answer questions about projects, policies and programs, mainly about their effectiveness and efficiency.

  • In both the public and private sectors, stakeholders will want to know if the programs they are funding, implementing, voting for, receiving or objecting to are actually having the future effect, and answering this question is the job of an evaluator.

Program evaluations are one of the psychological techniques and it can involve equally quantitative and qualitative methods of social research.

  • People who do program evaluation come from many dissimilar backgrounds, such as sociology, psychology, economics, and social work.
  • Some graduate schools also have detailed training programs for program evaluation.

Program evaluation may be conducted at several stages during a program's lifetime.

  • Each of these stages raises unrelated questions to be answered by the evaluator, and also different evaluation approaches are needed.
  • Rossi, Lipsey and Freeman suggest the following types of assessment, which may be suitable at different stages:

* Assessment of the program's cost and efficiency

* Assessment of the program's outcome or impact

* Assessment of how the program is being implemented

* Assessment of program design and logic/theory

* Assessment of the need for the program


Assessing needs:

  • A needs evaluation examines the population that the program intends to target, to see whether the need as conceptualised in the program actually exists in the population; whether it is, in fact, a problem; and if so, how it might best be dealt with.
  • This includes identifying and diagnosing the actual problem the program is trying to address, who or what is affected by the problem, how extensive the problem is, and what are the assessable effects that are caused by the problem.

Assessing program theory:

  • The program theory, also called a logic model or crash pathway, is an assumption, implicit in the way the program is designed, about how the program's actions are imaginary to achieve the outcomes it intends.
  • This 'logic model' is often not stated openly by people who run programs, it is simply assumed, and so an evaluator will need to draw out from the program staff how accurately the program is supposed to achieve its aims and assess whether this logic is reasonable.

Assessing efficiency:

  • Finally, cost-benefit or cost-effectiveness analysis assesses the efficiency of a program. Evaluators outline the benefits and cost of the program for comparison.
  • An efficient program has a lower cost-benefit ratio.