ERIC Number: ED282908
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Apr
Reference Count: 0
In-House Evaluation--Navigating the Minefield.
Fein, Edith; And Others
This paper describes experiences with in-house evaluation, using four case examples from Child and Family Services (a social service, child welfare, and mental health agency) in a meta-evaluation model to illustrate benefits and sensitivities of the internal evaluator's role. Projects reviewed were: (1) a child sexual abuse treatment team; (2) a family day care project; (3) agency policy in response to the Tarasoff decision; and (4) a new performance appraisal system. Meta-evaluations examine variables not originally included in the evaluation design and enable the researcher to consider unintended as well as intended consequences when examining program outcomes. Meta-evaluation may be conducted to assert the relevance of in-house research and evaluation efforts and can be used to document the utility of research activities. It can also point out where the evaluator could have been more successful. Before conducting a meta-evaluation, it is necessary for the evaluator to consider several issues: (1) timing (the length of time that should elapse between completion of an evaluation and the start of the meta-evaluation); (2) unintended consequences (program evaluations can have both negative and positive unintended consequences); (3) other functions (evaluators may develop additional programs, information, etc.); (4) objectivity of the meta-evaluation; (5) costs of the evaluation and the meta-evaluation; and (6) technical and procedural concerns (evaluators' work should be of the highest standard). In-house evaluation can make essential contributions to program planning and development. It may be appropriate for in-house evaluators to do more meta-evaluations to examine the outcomes and provide models for others. (BAE)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Evaluation Association (Kansas City, MO, October 29-November 1, 1986).