Principles-Focused Evaluation

Principles-Focused Evaluation, March 2021

Instructor: Michael Quinn Patton


Principles-focused evaluation makes a program’s principles the focus of evaluation. Three questions are the focus of evaluation: (1) To what extent and in what ways are the program’s principles meaningful to those they are meant to guide? (2) If meaningful, to what extent and in what ways are the principles adhered to? (3) If adhered to, to what extent and in what ways do principles guide results? The course will present and explain the GUIDE approach to developing and evaluating principles. GUIDE calls for principles to be directive, useful, inspiring, adaptable to contexts, and evaluable. We will share examples of principles-focused evaluations.

This course is delivered in four virtual, instructor-led modules. Classes will take place online via Adobe Connect. Certificates of completion will be provided at the end of the course to all participants who have successfully completed the modules. Read more about each of the modules below.

Module 1: The Niche and Contributions of Principles-Focused Evaluation
March 22, 12 p.m.–3 p.m. EST

Participants will learn (1) the niche, nature, and purpose of principles-focused evaluation; (2) the criteria for conducting a principles-focused evaluation; and (3) the GUIDE framework for principles-focused evaluation. Principles-focused evaluation will be placed in the larger context of evaluation models, approaches, and theories. A core issue in evaluation is matching the approach to the situation and context. This module will elucidate what principles-focused evaluation is, and when, where, how, and why it is appropriate to use.

Participants will learn the GUIDE criteria for crafting and evaluating. We will illustrate the application of the GUIDE framework with a range of examples from the United States and other countries, from small programs to global change initiatives, and from completed evaluations to emergent, leading-edge initiatives just being designed. Participants will have the opportunity to interact with the instructor and share their own examples

Module 2: Diverse Applications of Principles-Focused Evaluation with an Emphasis on Culturally Responsive Applications
March 24, 12 p.m.–3 p.m. EST

Principles-focused evaluation involves both crafting principles and evaluating them. The crafting process depends on whether a group has been operating for some time or is new, and what kinds of principles are being generated for what purposes. Principles are especially meaningful and useful with government and foundation initiatives, especially those intended to reach and serve diverse and underserved people, because they stimulate conversations about values and assumptions early on and embed them in evaluation. They also resonate with indigenous and other initiatives that embrace a culturally responsive approach. Participants will practice generating and revising principles, and examining principles in their fields of interest and knowledge.

Module 3: Principles for Evaluation
March 29, 12 p.m.–3 p.m. EST

So, what does it look like when we embed principles into evaluation? This module will focus on general guiding principles for evaluation and their application. We will distinguish ethical principles from effectiveness principles. We will examine principles for: Utilization-Focused Evaluation, Appreciative Inquiry, Developmental Evaluation, Collaborative Evaluation, Empowerment Evaluation, Systems Evaluation, Blue Marble Evaluation, and Complexity Evaluation, as examples. We will illustrate a framework for integrating diverse evaluation approaches based on the principles of the Global Alliance for the Future of Food. Participants will practice applying specific principles to their own evaluations.

Module 4: Evaluating Principles
March 31, 12 p.m.–3 p.m. EST

This advanced module will focus on evaluating principles, and feature both inductive and deductive approaches. We will adapt overarching evaluation questions to specific contexts: (1) To what extent and in what ways are the program’s principles meaningful to those they are meant to guide? (2) If meaningful, to what extent and in what ways are the principles adhered to? (3) If adhered to, to what extent and in what ways do principles guide results? We will develop and review rubrics for evaluating principles, and present and discuss examples of actual evaluations.


Recommended Text

To accommodate participants’ budgets and preferred reading format, we do not insist that recommended or required texts be purchased through the EnCompass Learning Center. Participants can choose to purchase new, used, or electronic versions of textbooks depending on their needs. Please note that we have no preferred vendor, and that the link on our website is only provided for convenience and is not meant as an endorsement of any kind. As such, the ELC will not be responsible for any issues that arise related to textbooks purchases and we will not issue any course refunds or vouchers due to textbook related issues.

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