Context is a force in evaluation. It shapes our practice, influencing how we approach and design our studies, how we carry them out, and how we report our findings. Context also moderates and mediates the outcomes of the programs and policies we evaluate.
This issue focuses squarely on the role that context plays in practice and illuminates its effect on the implementation and outcomes of programs. Exploring the ways in which attending to context may improve the quality of evaluation practice, the contributions span theory, methods, and practice in an effort to move to a more comprehensive conceptualization of context that can guide our work. It:
- Provides an historical and theoretical view of evaluators’ treatment of context
- Illustrates how context has influenced evaluation practice
- Presents a five-area framework for guiding a contextual analysis of evaluations
- Introduces “context assessment,” which provides a means of integrating context and its implications within the important stages of evaluation.
This is the 135th volume of the Jossey-Bass quarterly report series New Directions for Evaluation, an official publication of the American Evaluation Association.
Keywords: Education Special Topics