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Book Review: Handbook of Practical Program Evaluation (2nd ed.)

Book Review: Handbook of Practical Program Evaluation (2nd ed.)


American Journal of Evaluation, Vol. 27 No. 2, June 2006 282-284 © 2006 American Evaluation Association Handbook of Practical Program Evaluation (2nd ed.), edited by Joseph S. Wholey, Harry P. Hatry, and Kathryn E. Newcomer. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004. Reviewed by Daniela C. Schröter Under the motto, "It's better to be roughly right than to be precisely ignorant" (p. xvii), the second edition of the Handbook of Practical Program Evaluation (hereafter referred to as the Handbook) pro- vides a tool kit of research methodologies and professional standards for assessing program design and conducting evaluation. The anthology is targeted at a broad audience, including program administrators, analysts, auditors, consultants, educators, students, and managers in varying sectors. The primary goal of the book is to supply strategies for conducting systematic evaluations, intended to yield "useful and reasonably reliable information at an affordable cost" (p. xvii). The term practical relates to the afford- ability of these tools after considering potential trade-offs in the selection of certain methodologies over others in order to answer evaluative questions. The editors assert that "the higher the level of precision, reliability, and generalizability" (p. 2), the higher the costs of the evaluation. The primary need for
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