ERIC Number: ED433948
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Evaluation Options for Family Resource Centers.
Horsch, Karen, Ed.; Weiss, Heather B., Ed.
Family resource centers (FRC) are emerging as a promising program approach to solving urgent social problems. Evaluation plays an important role in learning how these programs work, what their impact is, and whether they should be expanded. However, FRCs pose unique challenges to evaluation. This report considers the challenges to evaluating FRCs, illustrated by an evaluation of a hypothetical FRC. The report describes the program and presents three alternative evaluation designs: (1) participatory; (2) user-focused; and (3) experimental/quasi-experimental. Issues and tradeoffs arising in employing any evaluation approach are considered. The report identifies similarities and differences in the three approaches regarding how research questions are clarified, how data needs are identified and data collected, how data are reported and analyzed, and how evaluation is organized. Strengths and limitations are identified, and the report suggests that integrating the approaches can be most helpful to evaluating FRCs and similar community-based programs. The report provides an overview of considerations when evaluating community-based programs such as deciding how to engage the community and stakeholders and identifying needed data and data collection instruments. The report draws three notable conclusions: (1) monitoring program implemention to see how interventions unfold and to test the assumptions underlying the program model is vital; (2) evaluation must be viewed as an important resource to promote continuous organizational learning; and (3) evaluators must increase their repertoire of skills to include technical expertise, interpersonal relations, and negotiation skills. Five appendices include sample evaluation reports of the hypothetical FRC. Contains 43 references. (KB)
Descriptors: Community Programs, Evaluation Criteria, Evaluation Methods, Evaluation Problems, Evaluation Research, Family Programs, Program Evaluation, Stakeholders
Harvard Family Research Project, 38 Concord Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138 ($10). Tel: 617-495-9108; Fax: 617-495-8594; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore, MD.; Ford Foundation, New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: Harvard Family Research Project, Cambridge, MA.