Developmental Evaluation: Applying Complexity Concepts to Enhance Innovation and Use

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Guilford Press, Jun 15, 2010 - Psychology - 375 pages
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Developmental evaluation (DE) offers a powerful approach to monitoring and supporting social innovations by working in partnership with program decision makers. In this book, eminent authority Michael Quinn Patton shows how to conduct evaluations within a DE framework. Patton draws on insights about complex dynamic systems, uncertainty, nonlinearity, and emergence. He illustrates how DE can be used for a range of purposes: ongoing program development, adapting effective principles of practice to local contexts, generating innovations and taking them to scale, and facilitating rapid response in crisis situations. Students and practicing evaluators will appreciate the book's extensive case examples and stories, cartoons, clear writing style, "closer look" sidebars, and summary tables. Provided is essential guidance for making evaluations useful, practical, and credible in support of social change.

See also Developmental Evaluation Exemplars, edited by Michael Quinn Patton, Kate McKegg, and Nan Wehipeihana, which presents 12 in-depth case studies.


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1 Developmental Evaluation Defined and Positioned
2 Developmental Evaluation as a Distinct Purpose and Niche
3 Thinking Outside Evaluations Boxes
Distinguishing Simple Complicated and Complex
5 Systems Thinking and Complexity Concepts for Developmental Evaluation
A Dialectic with Thesis and Antithesis and Developmental Evaluation as the Synthesis
7 The Adaptive Cycle and Developmental Evaluation
8 Developmental Evaluation Inquiry Frameworks
Reflective Practice Sensitizing Concepts Action Research Abduction Systems Change and Retrospective Developmental Evaluation
Engagement Practices Diverse Designs and Adaptive Methods
Author Index
Subject Index
About the Author

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About the author (2010)

Michael Quinn Patton is an independent organizational development and program evaluation consultant. A former President of the American Evaluation Association (AEA), he teaches regularly in AEA’s professional development workshops, The Evaluators’ Institute, and The World Bank’s International Program in Development Evaluation Training. Dr. Patton is a recipient of the Myrdal Award for Outstanding Contributions to Useful and Practical Evaluation Practice from the Evaluation Research Society and the Lazarsfeld Award for Lifelong Contributions to Evaluation Theory from the AEA.

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