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Building Evaluation Capacity

Building Evaluation Capacity
Activities for Teaching and Training

Second Edition

September 2015 | 448 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
The Second Edition of Building Evaluation Capacity provides 89 highly structured activities which require minimal instructor preparation and encourage application-based learning of how to design and conduct evaluation studies. Ideal for use in program evaluation courses, professional development workshops, and organization stakeholder trainings, the activities cover the entire process of evaluation, including: understanding what evaluation is; the politics and ethics; the influence of culture; various models, approaches and designs; data collection and analysis methods; communicating and reporting progress and findings; and building and sustaining support. Each activity includes an overview, instructional objectives, minimum and maximum number of participants, range of time required, materials needed, primary instructional method, and procedures for facilitators to help learners in the most common evaluation practices.

1. Overview of Evaluation
Definition of Evaluation

Evaluation Logic

Types of Evaluation

History of Evaluation

Evaluation Versus Research


2. The Politics and Ethics of Evaluation Practice
The Politics of Evaluation Practice

The Ethics of Evaluation Practice


3. Culture and Evaluation


4. Focusing the Evaluation

5. Evaluation Models, Approaches, and Designs
Evaluation Models and Approaches

Evaluation Designs

Return-on-Investment Designs

References and Resources

6. Issues of Validity and Sampling
Reliability and Validity


References and Additional Resources

7. Collecting Evaluation Data
Choosing Among Data Collection Methods

Surveys and Questionnaires

Individual and Focus Groups Interviews

Observation and Archival Data


8. Analyzing Evaluation Data
Qualitative Data Analysis

Quantitative Data Analysis


9. Communicating and Reporting Evaluation Processes and Findings
Why Communicate and Report?

Who Are Your Communicating and Reporting Stakeholders?

When and Why Are You Communicating and Reporting?


10. Managing the Evaluation
Developing an Evaluation Budget

Anticipating and Handling Evaluation Challenges


11. Building and Sustaining Support for Evaluation
References and Resources

12. Reflections on Learning


Data Set #68 and #69
The following resources are available upon request. Contact your sales representative today!
Data sets #68 and #69 accompany exercises in the book.

The revised text provides an informative discussion about a range of evaluation topics and thoughtful structured activities related to each topic. The structured activities provide an opportunity to learn more about and reflect on each topic, resulting in one of the most unique and useful texts on evaluation in terms of content and design.

Ronald L. Jacobs
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

This book is a go-to resource for anyone teaching program evaluation—professors designing formal coursework, trainers conducting professional development, and staff members seeking to build evaluation capacity in their organization. Each chapter provides detailed lesson plans (including time estimates, materials needed, and appropriate handouts) that should empower even novice facilitators to adapt the activities for use in their practice. The expanded content is a welcome addition to a field that increasingly seeks to build evaluation capacity at multiple levels in organizations.

Jean A. King
University of Minnesota

Building evaluation capacity is the largest challenge facing the evaluation profession. There's no better book on how to do it. Practical, clear, relevant, and useful. Engage in these activities, capacity will be built, and evaluations will be useful.

Michael Quinn Patton
Author of Utilization-Focused Evaluation

Preskill and Russ-Eft have created a gem with their Second Edition. It takes readers on a systematic journey through evaluation that provides clearly defined and engaging activities that develop the knowledge and skills needed to be a successful evaluator. Those who already own the first edition will find this new edition contains eighteen additional activities that allow them to provide even more comprehensive development to their students, employees and peers. Whether working cover-to-cover, or dipping into sections throughout the book, readers are guaranteed to find proven activities that can be trusted to develop evaluators of all levels.

Darren Short
Director, People Development, GoDaddy; Former President, Academy of Human Resource Development (2012-2014)

Preskill and Russ-Eft have collected an impressive number of useful and evocative activities to build the capacity of current and future program evaluators. Teachers of program evaluation and professional evaluators will find this excellent compendium of ideas and wisdom about evaluation an essential toolkit for their library.

Karen E. Watkins
The University of Georgia
Key features


  • Expansion of activities from 72 to 89 captures the evolving nature and needs of evaluation practice with content from professionals in the field who are teaching, training, and practicing evaluation.
  • New and freshly updated activities encourage active learning by offering students an opportunity to apply the concepts covered.
  • Updated chapter introductions and new references and resources have been added to provide readers with more opportunities to ground their teaching and practice.


  • An activity matrix lists each activity by section (topic), primary instructional method, range of time required, and needed background information to help users easily choose an appropriate activity.
  • A glossary of instructional methods briefly describes each method and includes a list of strategies for forming small groups.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Data Set

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