Optimizing Use in the Field of Program Evaluation by Integrating Learning from the Knowledge Field

It has been almost 20 years since Shulha and Cousins (1997) published their seminal paper exploring evaluation use. The paper examined a decade, 1986 to 1996, of theory, practice, and research on evaluation use. Since that time there have been significant developments related to the phenomenon of evaluation use. Outside of evaluation a new and burgeoning field has focused on the use of research in practice and policy; in health care the term knowledge translation has been used and in social sciences knowledge mobilization.

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Supporting Knowledge Translation Through Evaluation: Evaluator as Knowledge Broker

The evaluation literature has focused on the evaluation of knowledge translation activities, but to date there is little, if any, record of attempts to use evaluation in support of knowledge translation. This study sought to answer the question: How can an evaluation be designed to facilitate knowledge translation? A single prospective case study design was employed. An evaluation of a memory clinic within a primary care setting in Ontario, Canada, served as the case. Three data sources were used: an evaluation log, interviews, and weekly e-newsletters.

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