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Completing Your Evaluation Dissertation, Thesis, or Culminating Project

Completing Your Evaluation Dissertation, Thesis, or Culminating Project

September 2020 | 232 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
This practical, user-friendly resource helps students successfully complete an evaluation capstone: a dissertation, thesis, or culminating project where a student conducts an evaluation as their capstone experience. Authors Tamara M. Walser and Michael S. Trevisan present a framework to support students and faculty in maximizing student development of evaluator competencies, addressing standards of the evaluation profession, and contributing to programs and disciplinary knowledge. Their framework, and this book, is organized by six fundamentals of evaluation practice: quality; stakeholders; understanding the program; values; approaches; and maximizing evaluation use. Throughout the book they use the metaphor of the journey to depict the processes and activities a student will experience as they navigate an evaluation capstone and the six fundamentals of evaluation practice. In pursuit of a completed capstone, students grow professionally and personally, and will be in a different place when they reach the destination and the capstone journey is complete.

About the Authors
PART 1: Essentials for Your Journey
Chapter 1 • The Evaluation Capstone
Guiding Questions

Chapter Overview

What Is Evaluation?

What Is an Evaluation Capstone?

Chapter Summary

Chapter 2 • Working Productively With Your Committee
Guiding Questions

Chapter Overview

The Evaluation Capstone as a Process and a Product

Nontechnical Skills in Evaluation Education and Practice

Important Nontechnical Skills for Evaluation Capstones

Choosing a Capstone Chair and Committee Members

Communicating With Your Capstone Chair and Committee

Chapter Summary

PART 2: Navigating the Six Fundamentals of Evaluation Practice
Chapter 3 • Quality: Addressing Professional Evaluation Standards and Guidelines
Guiding Questions

Chapter Overview

What Are the Program Evaluation Standards?

Culturally Responsive Evaluation Practice

Evaluator Competencies

Other Guidance for Evaluation Practice

Meta-Evaluation of Your Evaluation Capstone

Chapter Summary

Chapter 4 • Stakeholders: Working With an Evaluation Client and Other Program Stakeholders
Guiding Questions

Chapter Overview

Who Are Program Stakeholders?

Developing a Stakeholder Engagement Plan and Log

Elements of Effective Stakeholder Interactions

Chapter Summary

Chapter 5 • Understanding: Developing Understanding of a Program
Guiding Questions

Chapter Overview

Why Does the Program Exist?

What Is the Program, and How Is It Intended to Work?

In What Context Does the Program Operate?

Conducting a Review of the Literature for Your Evaluation Capstone

Chapter Summary

Chapter 6 • Values: Engaging Values Through Evaluation Purpose, Questions, and Criteria
Guiding Questions

Chapter Overview

Engaging Values

Evaluation Purpose Statement

Evaluation Questions

Evaluation Criteria

Remaining Flexible

Chapter Summary

Chapter 7 • Approaches: Applying Evaluation Approaches
Guiding Questions

Chapter Overview

Evaluation Theories, Models, and Approaches

Taxonomies of Evaluation Approaches

Choosing an Evaluation Approach

The Relationship Between Evaluation Approach and Design

Developing the Evaluation Design

A Note About Validity and Trustworthiness for Evaluation

Chapter Summary

Chapter 8 • Use: Maximizing Evaluation Use
Guiding Questions

Chapter Overview

Laying the Groundwork for Evaluation Use

Additional Ideas About Increasing Evaluation Use

Types of Evaluation Use

Developing Evaluation Findings and Recommendations

Developing an Evaluation Communication Plan

Evaluation Capstone Reporting Formats

Chapter Summary


"The book provides a more practical approach/guide for conducting program evaluation."

Augustine Hammond
Augusta University

"A superbly written and important treatise that fills a wide gap."

Katrin Anacker
George Mason University

“This is an excellent guide for students undertaking an evaluation capstone project.”

Amy Donley
University of Central Florida

I feel like I have co-teaching partners in the classroom using this text. This is a diverse resource to be used in a classroom setting or for individualized academic research advising for culminating projects.”

Frances Kayona
St. Cloud State University

This text is a ‘must-have’ for the student who is conducting an evaluation dissertation study. It contains the essentials for developing a research rationale using the Program Evaluation Standards. It also combines the practical points of conducting a study with the academic requirements of completing a dissertation.”

John D. Tiller
Tennessee State University

Sage College Publishing

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