Genuine Evaluation at AES: Patricia Rogers on Purposeful Program Theory


Looking for a nuanced and intelligent approach to using program theory for programs that have simple, complicated, and/or complex aspects?

Then be sure to catch Patricia Rogers’ one-day workshop on Purposeful Program Theory at the Australasian Evaluation Society conference in Adelaide, August 28th 2012.

I attended a half-day version of this workshop at the AEA conference a couple of years ago – well worth it! The workshop is based on the book by the same name, which of course is a must have for any genuine evaluator.

Here’s my own review of the Purposeful Program Theory book (which you’ll find a version of on the back cover), and these comments also apply to the workshop:

Finally, finally, finally, the definitive guide to evaluation using program theory!

Clear and accessible without being simplistic, Funnell and Rogers have produced a nuanced and intelligent treatment of an important topic that makes the other options look lightweight in comparison.

Program theory enthusiasts will love it, and long-time critics of program theory are in for a goldmine of cogently argued insights that could – and should – change their minds. The authors clearly show how the absence of purposeful program theory can, in many cases, seriously compromise the validity, utility, credibility, actionability, and/or cost-effectiveness of evaluation.

Far from the narrow ‘one true way’ approaches to program theory, this book provides numerous practical options for applying program theory to fulfil different purposes and constraints, and guides the reader through the sound critical thinking required to select from among the options. The tour de force of the history and use of program theory is a truly global view, with examples from around the world and across the full range of content domains.

A must-have for any serious evaluator.

I have posted this review on Amazon as well – which, by the way, is a great way to support the work of evaluators whose writing you love – add a customer review yourself, and hit the ‘like’ button on Amazon (as well as the one on the page for this post)!

Check out the full description of Patricia’s Purposeful Program Theory workshop at AES – and be sure to sign up for it when you complete your early bird registration (by June 25th Australian time)!

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