This article provides background for the special issue. The authors first review the history of competency development in general and then in evaluation specifically. To date, the Canadian Evaluation Society and the Japanese Evaluation Society are the only professional organizations that have launched credentialing systems. However, increasing numbers of evaluation organizations and associations worldwide have developed lists of evaluator competencies, moving the field one step closer to professionalization.
BOOK REVIEWS: King, J. A., & Stevahn, L. (2013). Interactive Evaluation Practice: Mastering the Interpersonal Dynamics of Program Evaluation. Los Angeles: Sage. 431 pages. Available in paperback (ISBN 978-0-7619-2673-3).
BOOK REVIEWS: Aldrick, J. O., & Rodriguez, H. M. (2013). Building SPSS Graphs to Understand Data. Thousand Oaks: Sage. 371 pages. Available in paperback (ISBN 978-1-4522-1684-3).
BOOK REVIEWS: Barbier, J. C., & Hawkins, P. (Eds.). (2012). Evaluation Cultures: Sense-making in Complex Times. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. 256 pages. Available in hardcover (ISBN 978-1-4128- 4942-5) and e-book.
Innovation is essential in addressing complex evaluation capacity building (ECB) efforts that include a host of interacting, nonlinear, adaptive, and dynamical individual and organizational level factors. This article highlights five key ingredients in fostering innovation in ECB, based on evaluation capacity building efforts of the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health. For the past 5 years, 87 organizations have participated in an integrated ECB program combining funding, training, and coaching support.
The use of results produced through an evaluation process is a real concern for evaluators, especially when the process has a formative purpose. Utilization focused-evaluation seeks to ensure that several conditions must be met to optimize the use of knowledge generated during the evaluation process. This article describes this approach as well as the conditions of transfer of knowledge that optimize the use of evaluation results by users. It provides a concrete example of an applied utilization-focused evaluation and highlights the success factors.
Federal government departments and agencies are required to conduct a neutral assessment of their evaluation function once every five years under the Treasury Board Secretariat's Policy on Evaluation (2009). This article describes the National Research Council's experience conducting the first neutral assessment of its evaluation function. Based on learning from this first assessment, best practices that NRC intends on replicating, as well as lessons learned for future assessments, are discussed.
Ethics policies require parental consent for "children" less than 18 years old. This article examines whether parental consent should be required for youth aged 16 to 18 years. It examines the current position of youth vis-à-vis services, informed-consent requirements, the quality of parental consent, and youths' legal and developmental capacity to consent. It concludes that youth have the capacity to consent.
Outsource Versus In-House? An Identification of Organizational Conditions Influencing the Choice for Internal or External Evaluators
An evaluation can be conducted in-house or can be outsourced to an external party. Yet organizations do not always have full discretion to decide on the locus for evaluation implementation. Certain attributes often push the organization in one direction or another. Via a systematic pairwise comparison of attributes of 18 organizations in the Flemish (Belgian) public sector, we were able to indicate the conditions that matter most in determining the locus of policy evaluation implementation.
To Case Study or Not to Case Study: Our Experience with the Canadian Government's Evaluation Practices and the Use of Case Studies as an Evaluation Methodology for First Nations Programs
Canadian policy decision-making has utilized case studies extensively in recent years. Johnston Research Inc. (JRI) has completed more evaluation-related case studies over the past 4 years than in the previous 15 years of our evaluation work. To understand the growing application of case studies, we interviewed clients and contacts from First Nations that had been case study sites for our government clients, to understand what aspects of case study evaluation research had helped them share their opinions and improve their programs, and what aspects had not.