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Discussion 1

Program evaluation is the use of social research methods and techniques to analyze public programs. It is a relatively young discipline and came into its own most notably in the ‘60s and ‘70s. The analyses of social program initiatives in the context of America’s war on poverty were among the earliest studies conducted in program evaluation.

Today, most government agencies have institutionalized this capability both at the federal, state, and local levels. Internationally, foundations and international organizations fund non-governmental organizations (NGOs) not only to deliver public goods and services to developing countries but also to evaluate results of these programs to determine whether these programs work.

Domestic and international applications have predominantly been in the areas of economic development, health, education, welfare, public management, and governance. The practice of evaluation, with its emphasis on accountability and transparency has



become part of the modern methodological toolkit of the public administration specialist and public policy analyst. For this Discussion, review this week’s Learning Resources and consider how you might use program evaluation in your future professional role.

Post a description of your experience and interests in program evaluation. If you have no experience with program evaluation, explain your understanding of program evaluation. Next, explain what type of program evaluation is most consistent with your interests and experience (necessity for the program, program improvement, program continuation/dissemination, or accountability) and why. Also, explain how you might use this type of program evaluation in your future professional role.

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