Anne Vo and Christina A. Christie (Eds.). (2015).
This ahead of print version may differ slightly from the final published version.
Good theory development is grounded in empirical inquiry. In the context of educational evaluation, the development of empirically grounded theory has important benefits for the field and the practitioner. In particular, a shift to empirically derived theory will assist in advancing more systematic and contextually relevant evaluation practice, as well as lead to the development of contingency theories that specify the conditions under which particular evaluation practices are optimal.
Perceptions of Evaluation Capacity Building in the United States: A Descriptive Study of American Evaluation Association Members
This article offers a descriptive picture of American Evaluation Association (AEA) members' attitudes and perceptions related to evaluation capacity building (ECB). For this study, we analyzed data that were originally collected in the spring of 2006 from 1,140 AEA members in the United States on evaluation use.
Presented are the results of a study using latent profile analysis to describe the self-reported practices of 138 evaluators. Four classes emerged and were labeled (a) indistinct pattern of practice, (b) method-focused, (c) user-focused, and (d) robust pattern of practice. Evaluators in the "indistinct pattern of practice" class had mean item responses closest to zero relative to the other three classes, suggesting relatively weak associations with the practices described by the study instrument.
The question of how best to integrate the views of underrepresented and marginalized groups in the evaluation process is of critical importance to many evaluation theorists and practitioners. In this article the Delphi technique, a method used to achieve consensus on a set of issues with the participation of all interested parties without incident or confrontation that could compromise the validity of collected data, is offered as a procedure for enhancing marginalized group participation in the evaluation process.
The language of evaluation theory: insights gained from an empirical study of evaluation theory and practice
Broad concern for language issues in evaluation has been limited in comparison to other social science disciplines. In this article, some occasions of definitional or conceptual confusion with evaluation theory language are identified that emerged during a study conducted by Christie. We suggest that much of the language we use to describe evaluation practice is steeped in theoretical terminology, which may limit the utility of the language.