You are here

Click here for the online appendix:

"We can be grateful that Dr. Stake decided to cap his distinguished career by sharing his ideas in writing. This is a book that evaluators will want to have in their personal library. It tells us a lot about our field, highlights contrasting ways of evaluating without pitting one against the other, and manages to remind us why many of us chose this line of work in the first place."


Authored by a master writer and evaluator, Standards-Based and Responsive Evaluation
explores the many conceptual choices an evaluator needs to make when doing an evaluation, devoting attention to stakeholders, weighing ethical risks, and writing a useful report.

The book begins with the main strategic choices an evaluator needs to make between approaches: quantitatively,by explicating criteria, needs, standards, and performances, or qualitatively, by studying the activity, aspirations, problems, and accomplishments of the participants and critical observers. After reading the text, students will have a better appreciation of evaluation as a process that needs to be custom-fit to the situation. Throughout the book, Stake presents evaluation as a series of choices for the reader:

- To remain independent or to join with program staff or stakeholders
- To value personal experience as evidence or to shun it as biased
- To aid development formatively or to assess the existing program summatively
- To use issues, goals, gains, efficiency, or problem solving as the key conceptual structure
- To invest small or large in trying out and validating data-gathering procedures
- To support the standards and ethical codes of professional associations

Standards-Based and Responsive Evaluation will prove an essential text for program evaluation courses in education, nursing, social work, psychology, sociology, communication, and anthropology. Experienced researchers and professional evaluators will also find this an invaluable reference for a more experiential, interpretive approach to evaluation work and policy setting.

Key Features:

- Provides readers with the tools they need to make choices while practicing evaluation
- Employs quotations, poetry, and cartoons to help the reader "experience" the concepts of evaluation
- Includes boxed examples from a variety of cases, giving readers the opportunity to compare an actual evaluation situation with one in which they may be engaged
- Allows readers to access extensive examples of evaluation reports, coding excerpts, and more, through a complementary Web site appendix

First Words
1. Criterial and Interpretive Evaluation
The Ubiquitous Search For Quality


Criterial and Episodic Thinking

Roles and Styles of Evaluation

Formative and Summative Evaluation

The Evaluand

The Evaluator

2. Roles, Models, and Dispositions



3. Standards-Based Evaluation



Criteria and Standards for Comparisons

Needs Assessment



Representations of Performance

What Goes Wrong

4. Responsive Evaluation
Issues as Conceptual Structure

Observations and Judgments


Combining Responsive and Standards-Based Evaluation

Experience as Knowledge

Organizing and Reporting


What Goes Wrong

5. Data Gathering
Choosing Data Sources


Recipient Responses

Staff and Management Responses

Stakeholder and Public Responses

Data Coding and Records Processing


Observation Schedules


Histories and Artifacts

6. Analysis, Synthesis, and Meta-evaluation


Experiential and Probative Inferences


An Ethic of Continuous Self-Challenge

7.Clients, Stakeholders, Beneficiaries and Readers
Participatory Evaluation



Democratic Evaluation

Negotiation of a Contract

Writing Reports

Styles of Reporting

Representations of the Evaluand

Names and Labels

Cutting Edge

Offering Recommendations

8. Issues Needing Interpretation

Program Standardization

Program Fairness
Staff Development

9. Evidence-Based Evaluation
Is Evaluation Science?

Petite and Grand Generalizations

Policy Evaluation


Skepticism as a Commitment

10. Doing It Right
Quality Work Is Ethical Work

Personal Standards

Professional Standards

Human Subjects Protection

Confidentiality and Anonymity

The Business of Evaluation

Personnel Evaluation

Product Evaluation

Political and Cultural Contexts

Last Words
About the Author

Offers a critical and participatory perspective on Program Evaluation

Professor Roderick J Watts
Psychology Program, City Univ Of New York Grad Ctr
August 19, 2015

I think my students will love this book because it is very pratical and adresses all the essential aspects of conducting an evaluation. This counts for the web appendix as well

Professor Frans Janssens
Faculty of Behavioural Sciences, Twente University
September 20, 2010
Key features
    • One of today's leading evaluators provides readers with the tools they need to make choices when doing an evaluation.
    • The text is engagingly written.
    • The author uses quotations, poetry, and some cartons to help the reader "experience" the concepts of evaluation.
    • Boxed examples from a variety of actual cases offer readers the opportunity to compare an actual evaluation situation with the one in which they may be engaged.
    • A Web site allows readers to access extensive examples of evaluation reports, coding excerpts, etc.


Sample Materials & Chapters

Stake Appendix

For instructors

Please select a format:

Select a Purchasing Option

Electronic version
Prices from
*180 day rental

ISBN: 9780761926658

ISBN: 9780761926641

This title is also available on SAGE Research Methods, the ultimate digital methods library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.