Choosing an Evaluation Theory: A Supplement to Evaluation Roots (3rd Edition)

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Marvin C. Alkin Christina A. Christie Naomi A. Stephen

Abstract

Background: Unlike scientific theories, evaluation theories are prescriptive: a set of actions and approaches that should be followed when conducting an evaluation. While evaluation theorists have offered a variety of writings describing their theories and approaches, few have offered a specific outline of what the theory looks like in practice. Thus, Alkin and Christie formulated a book to aid evaluators in how to apply theories in evaluations (Alkin & Christie, forthcoming). This book culminates in a series of prototypes that outline each theory’s goals, appropriate contexts, prescriptions, and observable actions in application.


Purpose: In order to aid evaluators in applying theories, this article seeks to provide a basis for comparison that can be used to help evaluators select which theory would be most appropriate in their practice.


Setting: This comparison can be applied in any setting where evaluations fit the context prescribed by each of the theories.


Intervention: Not applicable.


Research Design: Not applicablre.


Data Collection and Analysis: Not applicable.


Findings: In order for theories to influence practice effectively, theories must be displayed in a way that allows for easy comparison. This comparison of three theory prototypes demonstrates that prototypes can be an effective way for selecting a prescriptive theory when conducting an evaluation.


Keywords: prescriptive theories; practice; empowerment evaluation; learning centered model; developmental evaluation

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How to Cite
ALKIN, Marvin C.; CHRISTIE, Christina A.; STEPHEN, Naomi A.. Choosing an Evaluation Theory: A Supplement to Evaluation Roots (3rd Edition). Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation, [S.l.], v. 17, n. 41, p. 51-60, aug. 2021. ISSN 1556-8180. Available at: <https://journals.sfu.ca/jmde/index.php/jmde_1/article/view/709>. Date accessed: 07 dec. 2021.
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