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Evaluation Methods

Evaluation is defined as the systematic assessment of the merit or the worth of some object. Evaluation is the systematic assessment and acquisition of useful information in order to provide the necessary feedback about some object that is in question. There are different types of evaluation methods and also different strategies of evaluation.

There are various types of evaluations of designs and methodologies and also a wide range of methods which could be used or employed in conducting an evaluation of any kind. The type of the evaluation that is undertaken affects the questions that are asked in the process and also the approach that is used in conducting the evaluation (Creswell & Plano, 2007). The evaluation strategies include the scientific-experimental models, management-oriented system models, and the anthropological or qualitative model. The scientific-experimental models are the strategies that take their methods and values from sciences mostly the social sciences. They tend to prioritize on the desirability of accuracy, validity, impartiality and the objectivity of the information that is generated. This category includes the quasi-experimental and tradition of experimental; econometrically-oriented perspectives that include the cost-benefit and the cost-effectiveness analysis; objectives-based research which is from education; and the modern articulation of the theory-driven evaluation (Bryman, 2008).

The management-oriented system models include the CPM (critical path method), and PERT (program evaluation and review technique). There are the anthropological/qualitative models which emphasize much on the importance of observing; the great need to preserve the phenomenological quality of the context of evaluation and the great value of subjective own interpretation in the process of evaluation. This strategy includes the fourth generation evaluation; qualitative schools; art criticism and critical theory approaches; and finally the grounded theory approach by Strauss and Glaser. The final strategy is the participant-oriented models which emphasize much on the integral central point of the evaluation participants such as the users and clients of the technology or program (Michael, Jim & Linda, 2006).

There are different types of evaluation dependent on the object that is being evaluated and also the purpose of carrying out the evaluation. These include the formative evaluation and the summative evaluation among many others. There are also other types of evaluations that are considered to be effective and reliable. There are many types of evaluation but it is good to consider the ones that reflect and are often used for the chief departmental programs or projects.

There is the outcome or the impact evaluation which measures the extent to which the program or the project’s stated objectives and goals were achieved and also identifies any unintentional consequences and also whether these were negative or positive. The core question that the impact evaluation answers is what the indirect or the direct impacts for the participants, the community and also to the system (Huey-tsyh Chen, 2005).

There is the context evaluation which provides information about the important critical factors that would make the program or the project successful and how the program could be replicated. The question that this answers is how the evaluation and the context affect the effectiveness and efficiency. In this context evaluation, it examines the contexts in which the program or project is delivered to the people. In this case, there is the examination of the groups that benefit from a certain program or the project (Bryman 2006).

There is also the process or the formative evaluation which provides required information for the program or the project improvement, documentation, management and modification. The question that this type seeks to answer is how the processes should be developed and improved. In this type of evaluation, there is the identification of the benchmarks with similar programs or projects for the purpose of comparison. There is also the examination of the ineffective and the effective practices. There is also the identification of the weaknesses and strengths of the current program or project. There is also the testing of the alternative program or project delivery models (Tashakkon & Teddlie, 2003).

There is the resource management which is a type of the evaluation of design and methodologies which examines how efficient and effective the program or project outcomes and results are delivered. It seeks to answer the question regarding the relationship between the resources and the outcomes. This includes the return on investment criteria, the identification of the required resources in order to deliver the outputs.

There is the program or project monitoring which is also a type of the evaluation which describes the course of the program or the project and its staff requirements, activities and also other resource requirements. This type tries to answer the question that regards the state of the program or the project. It compares the implementation plan with the actual happenings and occurrences in the program or the project. This type also tries and seeks to examine the client and staff perceptions and also the expectations of the program or the project. This type also considers the budgetary reviews and considerations (Huey-tsyh Chen, 2005).

The formative evaluation is a type of evaluation that includes other evaluation types. The needs assessment is one type that determines the persons who need the program, how big the need might be, and what measures would work to meet the mentioned need. Secondly, there is the evaluability assessment which determines whether the evaluation process is feasible and how the involved stakeholders can take part in shaping the usefulness of the evaluation. Thirdly, there is the structured conceptualization which helps the involved stakeholders to define the technology or program, the population that is targeted, and also the possible outcomes (Michael, Jim & Linda, 2006). Fourthly, there is the implementation evaluation which monitors the efficiency and fidelity of the technology or program delivery. Finally, there is the process evaluation which investigates the delivery process of the technology or program and it includes the alternative delivery procedures.

The summative evaluation is a type of evaluation that can be subdivided into various subgroups. Firstly, there is an outcome evaluation which investigates whether the technology or program led to demonstrable effects on the particularly defined target outcomes. Secondly, there is the impact evaluation which is wider and it assesses the net or overall effects that are either intended or unintended of the technology or the program as a whole. Thirdly, there is the cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis which addresses the questions regarding efficiency by standardizing the results in terms of their dollar values and costs. Fourthly, there is the secondary analysis which reexamines the existing data in order to address new questions or the use of new methods that were not employed in the past. Finally, there is meta-analysis which integrates the result estimates from various different studies to get a summary or an overall judgment on the evaluation question (Bryman, 2008).

The formative evaluation is known to improve and strengthen the object that is in the process of evaluation. This type of evaluation helps formation of it by critically examining the delivery of the technology or program, the quality standards of its implementation, and finally the assessment of the organizational inputs, personnel, context, and procedures, among others. On the other hand, the summative evaluation in contrast examines the outcomes or effects of some of the objects. The summative evaluations summarize it by explaining and describing what happens after the delivery of the technology or the program; and also assess whether the object that is under evaluation can be said to have led to the outcome; they also determine the general impact of the causal factor past the instantaneous target outcomes; and also the summative evaluations estimates the relative costs that are connected with the object that is being evaluated (Tashakkon & Teddlie, 2003).

The support evaluation is the evaluation type which involves uninterrupted testing which is described during the improvement of the design support to make sure that the real support is improved to the extent at which it can be evaluated. The application evaluation aims at assessing the usability and applicability of the support against any desired values of the main factors.

The success evaluation is aimed at assessing the importance of the support and this means how the support is successful and how it can be used to achieve the formulated aims (Creswell & Plano, 2007).

The formative evaluations are activities of evaluation which are undertaken in order to provide necessary information that could be used to inform service or programme development and or improvement. On the other hand, the summative evaluations are the activities of evaluation which are undertaken in order to investigate or assess the critical aspects of the performance of a given programme. An example of this type of evaluation is whether the outcomes and results have been achieved and whether the service is considered to be feasible and also it considers the value of the money used (Tashakkon & Teddlie, 2003).

The formative evaluations are often and generally conducted early in the life cycle of a programme or of a service. On the other hand, the summative evaluations are usually carried out once a service or a programme has been in position for some time. The formative evaluations and the summative evaluations are types of evaluations that are used to reach the goals of evaluation and both of them are used to answer the question of when the evaluation should be carried out (Bryman, 2008).

There is also the question how which is answered by evaluation and this brings about two types of evaluation of design and methodologies. These are quantitative and qualitative evaluation. The quantitative evaluation believes that the social world is measurable whereas the qualitative research believes that the social world must only be interpreted. The quantitative evaluation tests hypothesis or the theory in question whereas the qualitative evaluation generates hypothesis or the theory in question. The quantitative evaluation findings are generalized whereas the findings from a qualitative evaluation cannot be generalized. The data collection used in the quantitative evaluation is standardized whereas the data collection used in the qualitative evaluation is semi-structured meaning that it is flexible. The sample size in quantitative evaluation is a representative sample and the size is quite important whereas the sample size in the qualitative evaluation is not very important (Tashakkon & Teddlie, 2003).

The analysis and collection of both the quantitative and qualitative data can be put in a single study.  Evaluations provide a deeper examination of program or of project functions than given by mere reviews of the same project or program. Reviews are defined as the systematic way of reflecting or looking back on a project, program, service or a policy whereas the evaluation is more than this and helps in gathering evidence around the outcomes and appropriateness of a project, program, service or a policy.

All these process and types of evaluation have the common goal of ensuring that the project or program is carried on well and also the expected results and outcomes are achieved.

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