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The Landscape of Program Evaluation
The landscape of program evaluation

Program evaluation uses rational processes to examine the conduct of a program in the public interest. We do this to assess the characteristics of a program and to improve its effectiveness.

This assessment and improvement are rooted in the history of using social science research to identify improvements in public programs.1 As government programs proliferated in the New Deal of the 1930s, interest in determining the effectiveness of the programs increased, for both practical and political purposes. Empirical examination of the consequences of public activities emerged as a tool for understanding the relationships among purpose, methods, and outcomes for social programs. During World War II the use of empirical assessment for defense programs’ effectiveness was accorded an ...

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