Books on Program Evaluation

Program Evaluation is a relatively new field.  Most people who practice evaluation on a professional basis studied some specialized field, and frequently learn evaluation by imitating studies done in their area.  However, program evaluation is becoming a professional field in itself.  At Hensky we have many years of working experience.  Even with experience with many completed evaluations, we still benefited from the study of introductory texts that were not available when we started.  We are able to recommend two solid works in this area.  We may not agree with all of the views espoused in these books but we still strongly recommend that the time spent studying these books will yield a good return:

  • The author of this book Daniel Stufflebeam and his partner have provided the closest to what one might consider the consensus mainstream introduction to the budding discipline of program evaluation.  This is likely the book that students will read if they study evaluation 101 in an academic environment.
  • This book by Michael Patton is probably the most inspired and enjoyable to read.  This is a textbook that one can read simply for pleasure.  You may not agree with every aspect the authors philosophy but you will be a better evaluator and enjoy the process of getting there.
  • The coming together of the twin disciplines of Program Evaluation and Performance Measurement is seen as inevitable by some.  In fact, recent policies announced by the Canadian Treasury Board strongly point in this direction.  A very solid textbook in program evaluation theory by the Canadian James McDavid also combines an introduction to Performance Measurement.
  • If the perspective of an expert on Performance Measurement is desired, then Theodore Poister’s, text is considered by most to be the classic reference.  Note, that he has a fair bit to say about Program Evaluation and he uses logic models very effectively.