Goldie J. AMEE Education Guide no. 29: Evaluating educational programmes. Medical Teacher 2006; 28(3): 210-224.
Abstract: Evaluation has become an applied science in its own right in the last 40 years. This guide reviews the history of programme evaluation through its initial concern with methodology, giving way to concern with the context of evaluation practice and into the challenge of fitting evaluation results into highly politicized and decentralized systems. It provides a framework for potential evaluators considering undertaking evaluation. The role of the evaluator; the ethics of evaluation; choosing the questions to be asked; evaluation design, including the dimensions of evaluation and the range of evaluation approaches available to guide evaluators; interpreting and disseminating the findings; and influencing decision making are covered.
From the conclusion:
In performing evaluations, evaluation theory can help evaluators with all aspects of the process. Previously adopted approaches often present and provoke new ideas and techniques, and provide useful checklists. However, evaluators should be aware of the limitations of individual evaluation approaches and be eclectic in their choice of methods. The ‘good enough’ rule is worth remembering. As with all research findings, the validity and reliability of the data obtained are important to establish. When using quantitative and qualitative approaches in the same evaluation it is important to unify the different approaches. Recognition of the social components of evaluation knowledge and the fallibility of evaluation methodologies has led to the need for meta-evaluation … On reviewing the results of his/her endeavour it is important for the educational evaluator to remember the lesson history teaches: that improvement, even when modest, is valuable.
Article headings: Introduction; What is evaluation?; History of evaluation; Effecting programme evaluation; Interpreting the findings; Dissemination of the findings; Influencing decision-making; Conclusions; References