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Eval Program Plann. 2009 May;32(2):91-8. doi: 10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2008.10.001. Epub 2008 Oct 18.

The unique character of involvement in multi-site evaluation settings.

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  • 1University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.


As the number of large federal programs increases, so, too, does the need for a more complete understanding of how to conduct evaluations of such complex programs. The research literature has documented the benefits of stakeholder participation in smaller-scale program evaluations. However, given the scope and diversity of projects in multi-site program evaluations, traditional notions of participatory evaluation do not apply. The purpose of this research is to determine the ways in which stakeholders are involved in large-scale, multi-site STEM evaluations. This article describes the findings from a survey of 313 program leaders and evaluators and from follow-up interviews with 12 of these individuals. Findings from this study indicate that attendance at meetings and conferences, planning discussions within the project related to use of the program evaluation, and participation in data collection should be added to the list of activities that foster feelings of evaluation involvement among stakeholders. In addition, perceptions of involvement may vary according to breadth or depth of evaluation activities, but not always both. Overall, this study suggests that despite the contextual challenges of large, multi-site evaluations, it is feasible to build feelings of involvement among stakeholders.

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