Spring 1985 // Volume 23 // Number 1 // Tools of the Trade // 1TOT3

Previous Article Issue Contents

Program Evaluation: A Practitioner's Guide for Trainers and Educators


Phil Hamilton
Area Extension Agent, Farm Management
Enid, Oklahoma

Program Evaluation: A Practitioner's Guide for Trainers and Educators. Robert O. Brinkerhoff and others. Boston, Massachusetts: Kluwer-Nijhoff Publishing, 1983. Sourcebook, 223 pp., $24.95 (hardback); Sourcebook/Casebook, 385 pp., $35.95 (hardback); Design Manual, 154 pp., $14.95 (spiral-bound paperback).

Because most Extension personnel are out in the field with their clientele, ready access to good and practical references on program evaluation is limit ed. These books guide two different audiences: those with evaluation experience and newcomers to the evaluation process.

The books are divided into three major parts: Sourcebook, Casebook, and Design Manual. Users can choose according to their individual needs.

The Sourcebook provides a step-by-step method to complete an evaluation: (1) focusing an evaluation and clarifying its purpose; (2) designing an evaluation; (3) collecting information; (4) analyzing information; (5) reporting, interpreting, and using evaluation findings; (6) managing evaluation activities; and (7) evaluating evaluation efforts. In addition, the Sourcebook introduces issues, models, guidelines, and checklists.

The Casebook contains 12 case examples and checklists related to local schools, state agencies, colleges, and universities. Each case describes what went on in an actual evaluation and is annotated to highlight the seven evaluation steps above.

The Design Manual includes directions, guidelines, and worksheets to design an evaluation. Each section of the manual contains an example and a checklist. It may be most useful to those with little evaluation experience.

The three program evaluation books are useful references for designs and procedures. They deal with both formative (process) and summative (product) evaluation issues. They're easy to read, understand, and adapt to Extension.