ERIC Number: EJ694470
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Sep
Reference Count: 46
Concept Mapping as a Technique for Program Theory Development: An Illustration Using Family Support Programs. Notes
Rosas, Scott R.
American Journal of Evaluation, v26 n3 p389-401 Sep 2005
The emergence of theory-driven evaluation has drawn attention to the need for practical ways for evaluators to construct program theory to achieve the benefits of the approach. This article illustrates the use of concept mapping as a technique to explicate underlying program theory in the context of family support programs. In this example, 29 professional staff members from a statewide family support program brainstormed 96 specific benefits for participant families. Fourteen direct service staff members sorted and rated the items and interpreted the map produced by multidimensional scaling analysis and hierarchical cluster analysis. Some of the benefits of the technique for evaluators conducting theory-driven evaluations are highlighted. These include helping evaluators decide what to measure, capturing the complexity of programs in the context of implementation, and managing good stakeholder-evaluator relations. The general limitations and issues of concept mapping as it applies to theory development are also discussed.
Descriptors: Family Support, Professional Personnel, Evaluators, Multidimensional Scaling, Family Programs, Concept Mapping, Evaluation Methods
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A