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    ABSTRACT: This paper attempts to outline the conceptual framework of the theory-driven perspective. Six essential domain theories in a program are identified: (a) treatment, (b) implementation environment, (c) outcome, (d) impact, (e) intervening mechanism, and (f) generalization. Based upon these domain theories, different types of theory-driven evaluations are constructed. This conceptual framework provides a heuristic scheme which enables stakeholders and evaluators to work together to select a theory-driven evaluation that fits the nature of the program and stakeholders' needs within the constraints of resources and timeliness. The theory testing procedures and the role of the theory-driven evaluator are also discussed.
    Evaluation and Program Planning. 02/1989; 12(4):391-396.
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    ABSTRACT: The standard models used in the study of complex public health interventions are inadequate. They adopt a simple empiricist theoretical foundation and attempt to graft onto an essentially open social system a contrived laboratory experimentation typically in the form of a randomized, controlled trial. By understanding the ontological and epistemological claims of critical realism, it is possible to transcend the methodological inadequacy of the standard model approach. Critical realism posits a substantive causal theory, an end to fact-value dualism, and a coherent and emancipatory model of social action; all of these features amount to a systematic and compelling account of public health practice and a coherent approach to evaluation of complex public health interventions.
    Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 01/2008; 13(6):935-41. · 1.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Current approaches for dealing with validity tend to focus on one type of validity and play down the importance of others. For example, internal validity is treated by Campbell and Stanley as “sine qua non,” whereas, Cronbach judges external validity to be prime importance in research. However, these single validity oriented approaches may achieve one type of validity at the expense of other types of validity.As an alternative, we propose a theory-driven approach to validity. Our central argument is that a model or theory should be formulated in a program evaluation and the modeling process should include the identification of potential threats to validity in research. In this sense, the purpose of applying a technique such as randomization is to strengthen rather than to replace the model or theory. That is, program evaluation should be model or theory-oriented instead of research design oriented. Randomization can be used in any research if it is applicable, but we need rely less on randomization as a safeguard to internal validity if the threats in a research can be adequately identified and controlled.Since the structural relationships among the relevant variables and intervening processes are carefully modeled, the theory-driven approach avoids the pitfalls of black-box evaluation and provides better understanding of the causal mechanisms underlying the relationships between treatment and effects. Unlike randomized experiments which aim only at internal validity, a theory-driven approach provides a general framework to deal with internal, external, construct and statistical conclusion validity.
    Evaluation and Program Planning 02/1987; · 0.90 Impact Factor

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