Positive Thinking Approaches to Evaluation and Program Perspectives

This article deals with the relationship between approaches to evaluation and program perspectives. When evaluated by traditional approaches, programs based on a "direct help" perspective, oriented toward addressing deficits, tend to yield the depressing result that "nothing works." Programs based on an "indirect help" perspective, favouring people's active involvement, require evaluation approaches that are able to value innovation and change, such as positive thinking approaches. This article reviews and compares several of these approaches and analyzes them against those two program perspectives. The article also considers to what extent positive thinking evaluation approaches may be appropriate for evaluating programs of the "direct help" perspective as well as of those based on "indirect help."

The Utility of a Realist Evaluation Approach in Implementing and Evaluating Health Equity Policy

This article discusses the utility of realist evaluation in inuencing policies aimed at reducing health inequities and improving population health. Using an example of a National Demonstration program in Scotland, the article discusses how realist evaluation can help in several aspects of policy implementation: exploring "loss in translation" from policy aspirations to program design, interrogating the program design, developing a range of learnings from conducting the evaluation, and aligning the learning with policy priorities. Conditions under which evaluations can lead to positive influence on policy makers and future policies are discussed.

Appreciative Inquiry and Evaluation – Getting to What Works

Appreciative Inquiry (Ai) is described as the cooperative search for the best in people, their organizations, and the world around them. This article describes how Ai has been applied to evaluation in ways that build upon strengths and generate support for improvements. An initial criticism of AI can be that it focuses only on positivity and fosters an unrealistic view of human experience. Contributing to tension with the AI process is a mistaken belief that negative phna must be ignored. However, evaluators using AI have found that its appreciative questions, reframing, and generative features set the stage for sound assessment of worth as well as offer potential for powerful solutions.

Pertinence de la recension réaliste des écrits pour l'analyse des évaluations de programmes complexes : l'exemple du suivi dans la communauté en santé mentale

Traditional methods for systematic review may be less suitable for synthesizing data from evaluations of complex social programs. The realist review is a promising new method for systematically reviewing data from the evaluation of complex social programs. This article discusses the realist review and its relevance forsynthesizing data from evaluations of complex programs. As an example, reviews of mental health case management programs are critically analyzed. The realist review has the potential to address some of the deficiencies identified.

(BOOK REVIEW) Program evaluation in practice: Core concepts and examples for discussion and analysis (2nd ed.), D. T. Spaulding


(BOOK REVIEW) Participatory evaluation up close: An integration of research-based knowledge, J. B. Cousins and J. A. Chouinard


(BOOK REVIEW) The science of evaluation: A realist manifesto, R. Pawson


Time to Evaluate Diabetes and Guide Health Research and Policy Innovation: The Diabetes Evaluation Framework (DEFINE)

Many investments have been made to help address the rising prevalence and associated costs of diabetes, but there has been minimal evaluation to assess their value. A comprehensive literature review and five expert committee meetings were conducted to iteratively conceptualize and develop a Diabetes Evaluation Framework (DEFINE). Building on existing frameworks, DEFINE provides an evidence-based approach for evaluating diabetes. The framework is focused on guiding evaluation, building robust evidence, and fostering knowledge translation. DEFINE promotes comprehensive evaluation of initiatives targeting diabetes prevention and management, and will facilitate policy innovations to reduce the burden of diabetes.

Les défis de l'évaluation d'un programme d'intervention en contexte carcéral

For Quebec's government, program evaluation is now regarded as a necessity in order for public organizations to monitor and improve their performance (Lalande, 2010). However, relatively few evaluations are conducted in prison, despite the significant needs (Cortoni & Lafortune, 2009). The numerous challenges facing researchers may partially explain their reluctance. This article deals with the challenges faced by a team of researchers in the evaluation of a specialized addiction program offered in a provincial prison and the strategies implemented to overcome those challenges.

Think Positively! And Make a Difference Through Evaluation

This article introduces a special theme segment of CJPE that identifies and discusses various approaches to evaluation that support positivity. It also discusses why an approach to evaluation that supports positivity is basic to the objectives and raison d'être of evaluation — to contribute, generally in an indirect manner, to social betterment. This article identifies several lessons from psychology for approaches to evaluation: that positive reinforcement generally is more effective in achieving learning and behaviour change than negative reinforcement or punishment, and that intrinsic motivation, involving internalization of values, is necessary for commitment and the desire to make changes. The article indicates how a positivity focus to evaluation is consistent with the demands of accountability and the obligation of evaluators to tell the truth.