Politics in Program Evaluation

  • Kandyce FernandezEmail author
  • Jenna Gonzales
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-31816-5_2517-1



Over the past 50 years, scholars have proposed various definitions of program evaluation, primarily from the standpoint of assessing the effects of social programs. Some definitions include the following:
  • Evaluation determines the merit or worth of a program, policy, or entity (Scriven 1967).

  • Evaluation determines what is needed in societal programs through the systematic collection and use of data (Mertens and Wilson 2012).

  • Evaluation objectively examines the outcomes of programs to determine whether goals are met successfully or unsuccessfully (Weiss 1973).

Cumulatively, program evaluation involves the systematic study of social programs in the public sector. Rooted firmly in social science research methodology, program evaluation determines the merit or worth of program components or the effectiveness of program processes as they relate to program...


Evaluation Result Program Evaluation Evaluation Report Stakeholder Engagement Program Component 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Azzam T, Levine B (2015) Politics in evaluation: politically responsive evaluation in high stakes environments. Eval Program Plann 53:44–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chelimksy E (1987) The politics of program evaluation. Society 25(1):24–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chelimsky E (2006) The purposes of evaluation in a democratic society. In: Shaw I, Greene J, Mark M (eds) The SAGE handbook of evaluation. Sage, Thousand Oaks, pp 33–55Google Scholar
  4. Chouinard JA (2013) The case for participatory evaluation in an era of accountability. Am J Eval 34(2):237–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chouinard JA, Cousins JB (2015) The journey from rhetoric to reality: participatory evaluation in a development context. Educ Assess Eval Account 27(1):5–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cronbach LJ, Ambron SR, Dornbusch SM, Hess RD, Hornik RC, Phillips DC,…Weiner SS (1980) Toward reform of program evaluation. Jossey-Bass, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  7. Datta L-e (2011) Politics and evaluation: more than methodology. Am J Eval 32(2):273–294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Mertens DM, Wilson AT (2012) Program evaluation theory and practice: a comprehensive guide. Guilford Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. Mohan R, Sullivan K (2006) Managing the politics of evaluation to achieve impact. N Dir Eval 2006(112):7–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Palumbo DJ (1987) The politics of program evaluation. Sage, Newbury ParkGoogle Scholar
  11. Patton MQ (2008) Utilization-focused evaluation. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  12. Rossi PH, Lipsey MW, Freeman HE (2003) Evaluation: a systematic approach. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  13. Scriven M (1967) The logic of evaluation. In: Tyler RW, Gagné RM, Scriven M (eds) Perspectives of curriculum evaluation (AERA monograph series-curriculum evaluation). Rand McNally, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  14. Vanlandingham GR (2010) Escaping the dusty shelf: legislative evaluation offices’ efforts to promote utilization. Am J Eval 1–14Google Scholar
  15. Weiss CH (1973) Where politics and evaluation research meet. Evaluation 1(3):37–45Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of Texas at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA