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Purposeful Program Theory: Effective Use of Theories of Change and Logic Models

ISBN: 978-0-470-47857-8
576 pages
March 2011, Jossey-Bass
Purposeful Program Theory: Effective Use of Theories of Change and Logic Models (0470478578) cover image


Between good intentions and great results lies a program theory—not just a list of tasks but a vision of what needs to happen, and how. Now widely used in government and not-for-profit organizations, program theory provides a coherent picture of how change occurs and how to improve performance. Purposeful Program Theory shows how to develop, represent, and use program theory thoughtfully and strategically to suit your particular situation, drawing on the fifty-year history of program theory and the authors' experiences over more than twenty-five years.

"From needs assessment to intervention design, from implementation to outcomes evaluation, from policy formulation to policy execution and evaluation, program theory is paramount. But until now no book has examined these multiple uses of program theory in a comprehensive, understandable, and integrated way. This promises to be a breakthrough book, valuable to practitioners, program designers, evaluators, policy analysts, funders, and scholars who care about understanding why an intervention works or doesn't work." —Michael Quinn Patton, author, Utilization-Focused Evaluation

"Finally, the definitive guide to evaluation using program theory! Far from the narrow 'one true way' approaches to program theory, this book provides numerous practical options for applying program theory to fulfill different purposes and constraints, and guides the reader through the sound critical thinking required to select from among the options. The tour de force of the history and use of program theory is a truly global view, with examples from around the world and across the full range of content domains. A must-have for any serious evaluator." —E. Jane Davidson, PhD, Real Evaluation Ltd.

Companion Web site: josseybass.com/go/funnellrogers

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Table of Contents

Figures, Tables, and Exhibits.


The Authors.

Introduction: The Promise and Risks of Using Program Theory.

PART ONE Key Ideas in Program Theory.

Chapter 1: The Essence of Program Theory.

Chapter 2: Variations of Program Theory over Time.

Chapter 3: Common Myths and Traps.

PART TWO Assessing Your Circumstances.

Chapter 4: Scoping Intended Uses.

Chapter 5: The Nature of the Situation and the Intervention.

PAR T T H R E E Developing and Representing Program Theory.

Chapter 6: Processes to Identify or Develop a Program Theory.

Chapter 7: Developing a Theory of Change.

Chapter 8: Developing a Theory of Action.

Chapter 9: Representing Program Theory.

Chapter 10: Critiquing Program Theory.

PART FOUR Resources for Developing Program Theory.

Chapter 11: Some Research-Based Theories of Change.

Chapter 12: Some Common Program Archetypes.

Chapter 13: Logic Models Resources.

PA R T F I V E Using Program Theory for Monitoring and Evaluation.

Chapter 14: Developing a Monitoring and Evaluation Plan.

Chapter 15: Causal Inference.

Chapter 16: Synthesis and Reporting.

F I G U R E S, TA B L E S, A N D E X H I B I T S.




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Author Information

Sue C. Funnell is a director of Performance Improvement, a consulting company, and the former president of the Australasian Evaluation Society.

Patricia J. Rogers, PhD, is professor of Public Sector Evaluation at Collaboration for Interdisciplinary Research, Consulting, and Learning in Evaluation, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, Melbourne, Australia.

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“This contribution is a must read for every evaluator, administration or project manager willing to engage in theory-based evaluation or theory-based program planning. It stands out from all the literature on this subject by giving an array of examples of program theory as well as practical advice to conduct evaluation to understand what works for whom and in which conditions.”
– “Read for You”, Eureval (Centre for European Expertise and Evaluation)

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