Resources

Framework for a Program Evaluation Thesis or Dissertation

I often chair or serve on committees of students conducting a program evaluation thesis or dissertation. Based on the research on program evaluation thesis and dissertation studies (which is limited, by the way) and my experience as a program evaluator and faculty member, I’m developing a framework to support students and faculty in the work of conducting a program evaluation thesis or dissertation. This framework-in-progress has evolved as I’ve worked with students and faculty, and it will continue to do so as I share it with others. Note that the students I work with are not in a program evaluation degree program.

There are six key points of the framework that characterize unique aspects of a program evaluation thesis or dissertation:

Consider the Evaluation Problem

Understand the Program and Program Context

Involve Stakeholders

Choose an Evaluation Approach

Establish Evaluation Quality

Get the Evaluation Used

Using Historical Cohort Control Groups in School-Based Outcome Evaluation

This article, “Quasi-Experiments in Schools: The Case for Historical Cohort Control Groups,” provides guidance for using historical cohort control groups as a comparison group design element. Even if you’re not interested in using this design element, the article includes a useful summary of validity and applied descriptions of common threats to internal and external validity.

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