ERIC Number: ED135938
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1975
Reference Count: 0
In Search of Impact: An Analysis of the Utilization of Federal Health Evaluation Research.
Patton, Michael Q.; And Others
Research on the utilizations of evaluations was based on a followup of 20 Federal health program evaluations to assess the degree to which the evaluations had been used and to identify the factors that affected varying degrees of utilization. Interviews were conducted with project officers or people they identified as decisionmakers who would utilize information in the evaluation reports. Two major themes emerged from the study. First, it was found that much of the evaluation literature has considerably overestimated the kind of impact evaluation research is likely to have. Second, the importance of the personal factor in evaluation research, particularly the utilization process, has been considerably underestimated. The two themes are directly linked. The impact of evaluation research is most often experienced as a reduction in the uncertainty faced by individual decisionmakers as they attempt to deal with the complexity of programing reality. It must be assimilated and fitted into a contextual whole. Energetic and interested people in government can and do use evaluation research, not for making decisions with immediate, concrete, and visible impacts, but in a more subtle, clarifying, reinforcing, and reorienting way. Evaluators, then, might do well to spend less time lamenting their lack of visible impact on major decisions and more of their time providing relevant information to those key persons whose thoughts and actions, to a substantial extent, determine the general direction in the evolutionary process of program development. It is in consciously working with such decisionmakers to answer their questions that the utilization of evaluation research can be enhanced. (TA)
Descriptors: Administrative Principles, Decision Making, Government Employees, Health Personnel, Information Needs, Information Utilization, Problem Solving, Program Development, Program Evaluation, Research Problems, Research Utilization, Researchers, Use Studies
Michael Q. Patton, Director, Center for Social Research, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455 ($2.50)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Minnesota Univ., Minneapolis. Dept. of Sociology.; Minnesota Univ., Minneapolis. Center for Social Research.