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Susan Kistler on Must Read Books for Evaluators

My name is Susan Kistler, I am the Executive Director of the American Evaluation Association, and I contribute each Saturday’s post to aea365. Today, I’m going to draw from a discussion on AEA’s LinkedIn Group. Three months ago, Michelle Baron asked “What are the top 5 must-read books for evaluators?” I encourage you to review the entire exchange, but here are a few highlights, with the contributor noted.

Hot Tip: I would suggest The Road to Results: Designing and Conducting Effective Development Evaluations by Linda G. Morra Imas , Ray Rist – Maram Barqawi

Hot Tip: I would add: anything by Tom Schwandt, Values in Evaluation by Ernie House and Ken Howe, and Mixed Methods in Social Inquiry by Jennifer Greene. I’m always a big fan of the not-so-methodological books that deal with issues, ethics, values, role and the like. Oh, which makes me add Saville Kushner’s Personalizing Evaluation to the list. – Leslie Goodyear

Hot Tip: Regardless of your philosophical perspective, I would have to include Guba & Lincoln’s (1989) Fourth Generation Evaluation, published by Sage, as essential reading. Even though I trained as a pure ‘quant’ – I was surprised that this book had the most impact on my professional work in evaluation. – Andy Williams

Hot Tip: As someone who is focused on getting the job done for clients that typically don’t have a huge budget I’d want to add Brikerhoff’s The Success Case Method and probably one of Kruger’s books on focus groups. Two books on my must read list are RealWorld Evaluation by Bamberger et.al. and Developing a Learning Culture in Nonprofit Organizations by Stephen Gill. My stuck on a desert island book would be Utilization Focused Evaluation however in those circumstances maybe The Odyssey would be a better choice. – Eric Graig

Hot Tip: In evaluation for scientific research, a recommended book is A Toolkit for Evaluating Public R&D Investment, R. Ruegg and I. Feller, NIST: 2003. – Caroline Wagner [note: This one is a free download!]

Hot Tip: Norma Scagnoli compiled everyone’s suggestions into a list on delicious. Not only can you review the list, but you can also subscribe to it. And, she notes “if you want to add more titles, you just add them to delicious using the tag Books_on_evaluation and they will get added to the list.” [Thank you Norma!]

Hot Tip: Join AEA’s LinkedIn group (it’s free!).

Cool Trick: Because it is a threaded discussion – meaning that each discussion topic gets its own category and discussion around the topic is contained together as a set – LinkedIn is a great place to post questions that can evolve and be added to over time.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

2 thoughts on “Susan Kistler on Must Read Books for Evaluators”

  1. Hi. As I said in the LinkedIn discussion, while it is great to look broadly, I suggest we do not overlook the standard references, especially (for my practice)
    – Rossi, PH, Lipsey, MW & Freeman, HE 2004, Evaluation: a systematic approach, 7th edn, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA and
    – Mathison, S (ed.) 2005, Encyclopedia of evaluation, Sage, Thousand Oaks, Calif.

    Regards – David

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