Description: Readable and comprehensive, this text is designed to equip students and practitioners with the statistical skills needed to meet government standards regarding public program evaluation. Even those with little or no statistical training will find the explanations clear, with many illustrative examples, case studies, and applications.
Far more than a cookbook of statistical techniques, the book begins with chapters on the overall context for successful program evaluations, and carefully explains statistical methods--and threats to internal and statistical validity--that correspond to each evaluation design. Laura Langbein then presents a variety of methods for program analysis, and advises readers on how to select the mix of methods most appropriate for the issues they deal with-always balancing methodology with the need for generality, the size of the evaluator's budget, the availability of data, and the need for quick results.
Among this text's many important features: maintains a practical focus on doing evaluation; integrates research design with corresponding statistical/econometric estimation methods; uses examples from many policy fields, not just social services; uses examples from domestic programs as well as developing countries; links program evaluation to the larger field of policy analysis.
1. What This Book Is About
2. Defensible Program Evaluations: Four Types of Validity
3. Internal Validity
4. Randomized Field Experiments
5. The Quasi Experiment
6. The Nonexperimental Design: Variations on the Multiple Regression Theme
7. Designing Useful Surveys for Evaluation
8. Summing It Up: Meta-Analysis
Comment(s): "Langbein covers the key concepts of program evaluation and ties them to the statistical approaches that can be used to implement evaluations. This is a well-written book that will be accessible to students and practitioners with interests in program evaluation. The many examples and case studies will keep students engaged in the topic." -- Maureen A. Pirog, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Rudy Professor of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University
" Public Program Evaluation fills a gap that most texts leave unfilled. Other books may discuss what constitutes a good evaluation design, but they don't help the student learn how to actually carry out the tests that are needed to produce the answers. Langbein's text does that and, in so doing, helps students think more rigorously about evaluation." -- John Mendeloff, University of Pittsburgh
"This is an authoritative, comprehensive, and highly readable book. Its emphasis is on practical, timely research designs for program evaluation without losing sight of the importance of validity issues. The new edition, with the addition of many useful, practical exercises drawn from actual cases, is a valuable addition to the literature for students and practitioners." -- Barbara Carroll, McMaster University
Review(s): "This book provides an extensive discussion of the variety of research designs (and corresponding statistical tools) used to assess program impact and thoughtfully addresses evaluation's place in public administration and policy making. ... This book provides a valuable bridge between textbooks devoted to either research design or statistics. This book should provide useful guidance to many program evaluators and public managers." -- American Journal of Evaluation (on the previous edition)