What I found most interesting about this week’s readings and assignments was the opportunity to apply the Program Evaluation Standards in the case study assignment. First, we were asked to read the entire text, which was difficult at times, I must admit, because it read almost like a dictionary or a cookbook or another reference source–which makes sense, because that’s precisely what it is. But what I found to be most useful about the Standards was the checklist toward the beginning. After reading the admittedly relatively simplistic case study for this week’s assignment, I was able to consult the checklist and evaluate the case study based on each of the parameters listed. Many of them didn’t apply because the case study was described very simply in broad strokes, but it was easy to find standards that did apply because of the checklist format. Based on this first experience using this particular standards guide, I can imagine how much more useful it is when performing an evaluation–not just at the beginning during the planning stages, but throughout every stage, including a metaevaluation.
I also found the readings about human subject guidelines to be most encouraging and helpful. I think this set of rules is an absolute necessity to not only provide researchers and evaluators with valuable information, but to help protect their reputations and the integrity of their research that might otherwise be compromised through a simple oversight. And of course, these guidelines also serve to protect against intentional abuses.