A part of my position is to build evaluation capacity.  This has many facets–individual, team, institutional.

One way I’ve always seen as building capacity is knowing where to find the answer to the how to questions.  Those how to questions apply to program planning, evaluation design, evaluation implementation, data gathering, data analysis, report writing, and dissemination.  Today I want to give you resources to build your tool box.  These resources build capacity only if you use them.


1.  Contact your evaluation specialist.

2.  Listen to stakeholders–that means including them in the planning.

3.  Read.

If you don’t know what to read to give you information about a particular part of your evaluation, see resource Number 1 above.  For those of you who do not have the luxury of an evaluation specialist, I’m providing some reading resources below (some of which I’ve mentioned in previous blogs).

1.  For program planning (aka program development):  Ellen Taylor-Powell’s web site at the University of Wisconsin Extension.  Her web site is rich with information about program planning, program development, and logic models.

2.  For evaluation design and implementation:  Jody Fitzpatrick”s book.

Citation:  Fitzpatrick, J. L., Sanders, J. R., & Worthen, B. R. (2004). Program evaluation: Alternative approaches and practical guidelines.  (3rd ed.).  Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.

3.  For evaluation methods, that depends on the method you want to use for data gathering; it doesn’t cover the discussion of evaluation design, though.

  • For needs assessment, the books by Altschuld and Witkin (there are two).

(Yes, needs assessment is an evaluation activity).

Citation:  Witkin, B. R. & Altschuld, J. W. (1995).  Planning and conducting needs assessments: A practical guide. Thousand Oaks, CA:  Sage Publications.

Citation:  Altschuld, J. W. & Witkin B. R. (2000).  From needs assessment to action: Transforming needs into solution strategies. Thousand Oaks, CA:  Sage Publications, Inc.

  • For survey design:     Don Dillman’s book.

Citation:  Dillman, D. A., Smyth, J. D., & Christian, L. M. (2009).  Internet, mail, and mixed-mode surveys:  The tailored design method.  (3rd. ed.).  Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Son, Inc.

  • For focus groups:  Dick Krueger’s book.

Citation:  Krueger, R. A. & Casey, M. A. (2000).  Focus groups:  A practical guide for applied research. (3rd. ed.).  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

  • For case study:  Robert Yin’s classic OR

Bob Brinkerhoff’s book. 

Citation:  Yin, R. K. (2009). Case study research: Design and methods. (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, Inc.

Citation:  Brinkerhoff, R. O. (2003).  the success case method:  Find out quickly what’s working and what’s not. San Francisco:  Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

  • For multiple case studies:  Bob Stake’s book.

Citation:  Stake, R. E. (2006).  Multiple case study analysis. New York: The Guilford Press.

Since this post is about capacity building, a resource for evaluation capacity building:

Hallie Preskill and Darlene Russ-Eft’s book .

Citation:  Preskill, H. & Russ-Eft, D. (2005).  Building Evaluation Capacity: 72 Activities for teaching and training. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

I’ll cover reading resources for data analysis, report writing, and dissemination another time.

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