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Evaluation approaches are distinct ways to think about, design, and conduct evaluation efforts. Certain evaluation approaches help solve problems; others refine existing approaches. The following resources outline the types of evaluation approaches: outcome-based, impact, process, and participatory evaluation designs.
Selecting an Evaluation Approach (PDF - 93 KB)
James Bell Associates (2009)
Discusses factors to consider when choosing an evaluation approach and reviews the most common types of evaluation designs.
Evaluation Brief: What's the Difference? Understanding Process and Outcome Evaluation (PDF - 76 KB)
James Bell Associates (2007)
Outlines the steps to perform to ensure that evaluations are conducted systematically. The paper describes the difference between process evaluations and outcome evaluations and provides indicators and processes for both.
A Social Worker's Guide to Evaluating Practice Outcomes
Thyer & Myers (2007)
Provides instruction to empirically evaluate the outcomes of social work practices and programs. The book includes an overview of evaluation research and the importance of evaluation research in social work.
Quasi-Experimental Evaluations (PDF - 156 KB)
Describes types of quasi-experimental evaluations, what can be learned from them, and when it is appropriate to conduct them.
RealWorld Evaluation: Working Under Budget, Time, Data, and Political Constraints
Bamberger, Rugh, & Mabry (2006)
Describes the RealWorld approach to program evaluation, which addresses the challenges of conducting evaluations with limited budgets, time, and data.
What's the Difference?: "Post" Then "Pre" and "Pre" Then "Post" (PDF - 76 KB)
Colosi & Dunifon (2006)
Explores the strengths and weaknesses of two approaches to assessing participant change: collecting data at two separate points in time or once at the program's end.