ERIC Number: EJ1060721
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jun
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 69
Infusing Theory into Practice, Practice into Theory: Small Wins and Big Gains for Evaluation
Rog, Debra J.
American Journal of Evaluation, v36 n2 p223-238 Jun 2015
This article illustrates the synergistic role between practice and theory in evaluation. Using reflective practice, the author reviews her own work as well as the work of other evaluators to illustrate how theory can influence practice and, in turn, how evaluation practice can inform and grow theory, especially evaluation theory. The following three themes are reinforced: (1) the importance of infusing theory into evaluation practice, including program theory, social science theory, and evaluation theory; (2) the importance of infusing practice into theory, with an emphasis on understanding the role of experience and expertise in improving our theory; and (3) how we can continue to foster the integration between theory and practice to strengthen our field and the work of individual evaluators. Weick's (1984) concept of small wins, large gains is suggested as a strategy for encouraging the theory-practice integration in evaluation. Small wins are concrete, minor improvements may be more manageable for evaluators to incorporate into their routine practice, but overtime, these small changes can result in large gains for individual evaluators and the evaluation field as a whole as well as the areas of intervention in which we work.
Descriptors: Theory Practice Relationship, Evaluation Problems, Program Evaluation, Social Science Research, Social Theories, Definitions, Apprenticeships, Models, Active Learning, Advisory Committees, Decision Making
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A