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Balanced Evaluation Paper

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It is important for program managers and decision makers to know if their program is accomplishing its founding purpose. To provide that insight and aid in decisions about a current or proposed course of action, a program evaluation can be a very critical tool to determine how well a program is working and what impact it is having on the problem it is attempting to address. With that said, how are intended users and beneficiaries of an evaluation supposed to know if the evaluation they have been given is a good product, with enough substance to guide them in making critical decisions that will affect the livelihood of program workers, the wellbeing of program participants, and influence the use of the limited resources available to address…show more content…
However, an evaluation must also provide a reason to take action and that can be divisive. An evaluation that does not provide a significant reason to act is not likely to have value to the stakeholders. In an environment where high levels of polarization exists, stakeholders become more likely to invest significant amounts of resources to have their point of view heard (Contandriopoulos & Brousselle, 2012). The evaluator should not be partisan, or attempt to fuel discord. Though, they should provide information and motivation to those who seek to improve society. Evaluators may choose to seek out those who have power to affect change. “Evaluations that are strongly connected to power structures are more likely to have an effect because they already have champions who have a stake in using evaluations to change practices” (Saunders, 2012, Pg. 429). When change is necessary, recommendations of small, incremental changes are usually more reasonable and easier for communities or program participants to accept than drastic sweeping changes. Unless there is a polarizing force driving a change, evaluations that recommend changes that build upon existing practices have a greater chance to be accepted and maximize the use of the evaluation report ” (Saunders,…show more content…
The effectiveness of the program and the usefulness of the evaluation can only be realized if the potential users are shown that the costs and benefits of changing a lifestyle or other practices are preferable to the way things were before the program was offered or new knowledge provided by the evaluation made available (Saunders, 2012). Evaluators must provide answers to those who commissioned their study to show the value and impact the program is having or what need remains. It is important to acknowledge that good programs can fail if program participants or the community as a whole fail to see the value in services that are provided and reject the operation. Evaluators have an opportunity to provide information about why the program is important to the wellbeing of a segment of the population and how that will in turn effect society in
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