and evaluation research will benefit. Both are concerned about mattersof validity, whether it pertains to the nature of the program interventionitself or to the nature of the assessment of the program intervention. Toreinforce the development of program evaluation in partnership, this pa-per discusses key points about evaluation research relevant to both pro-gram professionals and researchers. These include the contextualinfluences on a program, the “readiness” of a program for evaluation,and whether the evaluation research “works” for the program. Underly-ing our discussion is a call for the development of partnerships aroundresearch on programs. In that light, this article elaborates the processsteps that should be taken to build program evaluation partnerships, in-cluding a discussion of what evaluators and program professionals needto know about each other, and their respective values, interests, and pro-fessional perspectives.
[Article copies available for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service: 1-800-HAWORTH. E-mail address:<docdelivery@ haworthpress.com> Website: <http://www.HaworthPress.com>© 2004 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.]
Community-based programs, evaluation research, col-laboration, program development, partnerships
Across the United States, there are a multitude of programs designedtoimprovethequalityoflifeforindividuals,families,andcommunities.Funding organizations typically require that community-based initia-tives have an evaluation component and, in part, renewed funding isusually based on what the evaluation research findings indicate aboutthese programs. Although, in theory, it appears that evaluation researchisanaturalcomplementtoprogramdelivery,programdevelopmentandservice delivery tend to work at cross-purposes with program evalua-tion (Myers-Walls, 2000). According to Telfair and Mulvihill (2000),evaluators and program professionals may have basic differences inemphasis and direction that lead to a poor fit between them. On the onehand, program professionals may feel that evaluation research is an ob-stacle to their work and a required activity that must be endured. Theterm “diverted” may even be used in discussing resources earmarkedfor evaluation of programs (Family and Youth Services Bureau, 1999).
8 JOURNAL OF COMMUNITY PRACTICE