William R. Avison


Comprehensive Evaluation: The Intersection of Impact Evaluation and Social Accounting


Social accounting or "social auditing" has been recommended as an alternative to more traditional methods of evaluating certain types of social programs and the contributions of non-profit organizations. This article examines the similarities and differences between social accounting and more traditional types of evaluation as well as identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each. The contributions of each are incorporated in a framework of "comprehensive evaluation," wherein consideration is given to the program theory, costs of inputs (investment), research design for the attribution of effects, and an array of outputs (dependent variables) that are measured in either monetary or non-monetary terms.