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Practical Program Evaluation

Practical Program Evaluation
Theory-Driven Evaluation and the Integrated Evaluation Perspective

Second Edition

October 2014 | 464 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

The Second Edition of Practical Program Evaluation shows readers how to systematically identify stakeholders’ needs in order to select the evaluation options best suited to meet those needs. Within his discussion of the various evaluation types, Huey T. Chen details a range of evaluation approaches suitable for use across a program’s life cycle. At the core of program evaluation is its body of concepts, theories, and methods. This revised edition provides an overview of these, and includes expanded coverage of both introductory and more cutting-edge techniques within six new chapters. Illustrated throughout with real-world examples that bring the material to life, the Second Edition provides many new tools to enrich the evaluator’s toolbox. 


1. Fundamentals for Program Evaluation
2. Understand Approaches to Evaluation and Select Ones That Work: The Comprehensive Evaluation Typology
3. Logic Models and the Action Model/Change Model Schema (Program Theory)
4. Helping Stakeholders Clarify a Program Plan: Program Scope
5. Helping Stakeholders Clarify a Program Plan: Action Plan
6. Constructive Process Evaluation Tailored for the Initial Implementation
7. Assessing Implementation in the Mature Implementation Stage
8. Program Monitoring and the Development of a Monitoring System
9. Constructive Outcome Evaluations
10. The Experimentation Evaluation Approach to Outcome Evaluation
11. The Holistic Effectuality Evaluation Approach to Outcome Evaluation
12. The Theory-Driven Approach to Outcome Evaluation
13. What to Do if Your Logic Model Does Not Work as Well as Expected
14. Formal Theories Versus Stakeholder Theories in Interventions: Relative Strengths and Limitations
15. Evaluation and Dissemination: Top-Down Approach Versus Bottom-Up Approach


Student Study Site

The open-access Student Study Site includes the following:

  • Interesting and relevant additional readings provide a jumping-off point for course assignments, papers, research, group work, and class discussion.
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to certain full-text SAGE journal articles.
Instructor Resource Site

Password-protected Instructor Resources include the following:

  • Editable, chapter-specific Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides offer you complete flexibility in easily creating a multimedia presentation for your course. 
  • Detailed lecture notes that align with the PowerPoint slides summarize key concepts on a chapter-by-chapter basis to help with preparation for lectures and class discussions.
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to certain full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected for each chapter. Each article supports and expands on the concepts presented in the chapter. Combine cutting-edge academic journal scholarship with the topics in your course for a robust classroom experience.

"The strength of this text is its coverage of practical concerns for consideration by practitioners who are envisioning, planning, and executing program evaluations."

C.W. Cowles, Central Michigan University
Central Michigan University

“Chen has the best conceptual framework, and the quality of his writing and analysis are superb. He takes the reader through the essential steps in evaluation, with particularly valuable treatment of stakeholder involvement.”

Mario A. Rivera, University of New Mexico
University of New Mexico

“In this eminently readable book, Chen presents a strong matrix framework for conceptualizing a full range of evaluation strategies and approaches… The writing is exceptionally clear, accessible to novice evaluators, and, because it is fair-minded and principled, of relevance to seasoned evaluators as well.”

Jennifer Greene, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

"Professor Chen's Second Edition of Practical Program Evaluation sets a new standard for providing a variety of systematic frameworks for conducting high quality program evaluations. The readers will come away with a detailed understanding of both conventional and cutting-edge approaches. It is a must-read for practicing program evaluators, evaluation scholars, and students of evaluation."

Stewart I. Donaldson, Claremont Graduate University
Claremont Graduate University

“Huey Chen brings decades of evaluation and experience to this new edition. He continues his innovative and pragmatic thinking about evaluation including identifying, constructing, and testing theories that can work, that is, practical theories. Dr. Chen shows how to blend formative and summative evaluation, process and outcome evaluation, theory and action, and much more. If one desires to articulate and build program theories that work, from the bottom up, and conduct effective evaluations, this rigorous and practical book is for you."

R. Burke Johnson, University of South Alabama
University of South Alabama

“Dr. Chen’s latest effort offers evaluators a thoughtful expansion on the topics addressed in Practical Program Evaluation (2005) in terms of program theory, logic modeling, and his evaluation typology. New chapters gleaned from the field reveal solution sets for overcoming challenges in a variety of contexts while still balancing scientific and stakeholder needs. This new work provides a solid foundation for the further development of an evaluator’s acumen.”

Gregg M. Gascon, Ohio State University

Not currently teaching a course in evaluation - when I enxt do, this is my number one choice for a text!

Dr John Donohue
Psychology, University Of Ottawa
October 27, 2015

This book is well presented. My students can easily follow the logic of program evaluation.
Thank you!

Mrs Chantale Tremblay
Psychoéducation, Université de Sherbrooke
June 25, 2015

Although the text was useful, it did not address all necessary course modules for my particular course.

Ms Colleen Waring
Lbj Grad Sch Of Public Affairs, University Of Texas At Austin
April 22, 2015

I was quite impressed with the text, both its coverage of the topic and its flow of presentation.

Professor Jason Kaufman
Educational Leadershp Dept, Minnesota State Univ-Mankato
November 14, 2014
Key features



  • A new comprehensive evaluation typology in Chapter 2 helps readers systematically identify stakeholders’ needs and select the evaluation options best suited to those needs.
  • A new Part V, Advanced Issues in Program Evaluation, includes three new chapters that help readers understand challenging issues and innovative approaches, and enhance their competencies in applying them.
  • Coverage of cutting-edge evaluation perspectives and approaches, including the Action Model/Change Model Schema, helps readers think “outside the box.”
  • New chapters introduce the innovative holistic effectuality approach as an alternative to the traditional experimentation evaluation approach for conducting real-world outcome evaluation and expand the scope of evaluation from effectuality to viability and transferability.
  • A new Chapter 14 explores the relative strengths and limitations of formal theories versus stakeholder theories.
  • A new Chapter 15 compares two approaches to evaluation and dissemination: the top-down approach versus the bottom-up approach.
  • The more complex evaluation theories presented in later chapters are presented in accessible language and illustrated with interesting real-world examples.



  • Illustrative examples from the field and coverage of the methods, procedures, pros, cons, and tradeoffs involved in using various evaluation options help readers put each evaluation approach into action.
  • The evaluation cycle is covered from start to finish: program planning, initial implementation, mature implementation, and outcomes.
  • The book highlights both the art and science of program evaluation.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 3

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