A Practitioner Handbook on Evaluation
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A Practitioner Handbook on Evaluation

Edited by Reinhard Stockmann

This comprehensive Handbook serves as an excellent reference manual providing answers to virtually every conceivable question that can arise during the planning and implementation process of an evaluation.
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Chapter 2: An Introduction to Evaluation

Reinhard Stockmann


Reinhard Stockmann This chapter begins by imparting some basic knowledge about evaluation (section 2.1). After a terminological explication, the central evaluation issues are identified and systematically explained. In addition, the position of evaluation research on the map of empirical social research is shown, and the balancing act between the scientific nature of evaluation and its usefulness is also covered. The heuristic life-course perspective is transposed onto programme evaluation, in order, on the one hand, to make it clear how the individual programme phases are causally interconnected, and, on the other, to highlight sustainability as an integral component of a programme. Roughly speaking, we can identify four objectives of evaluation: the gaining of insights, control, development and legitimation. They are closely inter-related, although they do make different approaches and concepts necessary depending on the targets involved. Since some very different demands are made on evaluations, there are a variety of evaluation approaches and models. These can be structured using either their orientation in terms of theory of science and methodology or the basic task they aim to fulfil. In section 2.2 both criteria are applied for a systematization. An impact-oriented evaluation approach developed at the Center for Evaluation, which can in principle be used in all phases of the programme process, is presented as a model. Starting with theoreticalconceptional considerations which include a life-course perspective as a heuristic model and are oriented towards organizations and the diffusion of innovations, an evaluation guide is developed which directs and structures the search for...

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