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Book and Media Reviews
June 11, 2008

Evaluation Theory, Models, and Applications

JAMA. 2008;299(22):2692-2693. doi:10.1001/jama.299.22.2692

Daniel L. Stufflebeam is a patriarch in the field of program evaluation. He is well regarded and widely published in the realm of educational research and evaluation and is founder of the distinguished Evaluation Center at Western Michigan University. Evaluation Theory, Models, & Applications is Stufflebeam's third collaboration with Anthony J. Shinkfield, an Australian educational evaluator and lifelong cricket aficionado.

This book is, in a way, like a cricket match. It is 736 pages long, requiring real commitment to read from start to finish. Each side, batting and bowling, gets its due time on the pitch. Stufflebeam and Shinkfield are fair and worthy umpires, allotting chapters to every conceivable approach to evaluation and remaining reserved and polite about what they call “pseudoevaluations,” in reference to propagandistic reports of program successes or studies that pander to politics. Intended either as a textbook for students or a handbook for practitioners, Evaluation Theory is organized into 4 parts. Part 1 covers the “fundamentals” of evaluation, including definitions, evaluation models, professional standards, and personnel evaluation. Part 2 is entitled “Evaluation of Evaluation Approaches and Models.” It includes “quasi-evaluation studies” (eg, accountability, performance testing), accountability-oriented approaches, social agenda and advocacy approaches, and “eclectic” approaches. Part 3 further explicates some selected approaches, proffering a wealth of personalities, history, and methods. Finally, part 4 delivers the nuts and bolts of proposing and designing evaluations, including how to develop a budget.

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