Agency-based Program Evaluation: Lessons from Practice, by Stephen A. Kapp and Gary R. Anderson, serves as a core textbook in the advanced undergraduate and graduate social work program evaluation courses. It combines the methodology of program evaluation with the reality of working with agencies and organizations to describe the effectiveness of their services and programs. Students will gain an understanding of the political and social context and pressures in which a program is developed, implemented and evaluated. This book offers a practice-oriented approach to evaluation. While many program evaluation methods texts often add a chapter or brief sections that describe organizational and political factors, this book begins with the context of an agency-based evaluation and describes the method within that context. Students will gain a more complete understanding of this contextual challenge and will learn techniques for operating in the face of these challenges.

Introduction: the Purpose of this Book

Program evaluation is essential to demonstrate effective practice, advance an organization's mission, and powerfully respond to one's internal and external stakeholders. This ability to articulate the value of one's interventions and programs and satisfy constituents becomes heightened when facing times of economic stress, difficult funding decisions, and an increased demand for services. The ethical principles and challenges and political and cultural considerations that provide the context for the evaluation process can significantly shape the ability to implement an evaluation and promote value. In addition, the reality of an agency's day-to-day functioning can complicate the elements of an evaluation plan and its steps and strategies. The purpose of this book is to articulate the elements of program evaluation, to deepen ...

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