(51) Basics of Program Design: A Theory-Driven Approach (October 16, 2013: 12pm-3pm)

Session Number: 51
Track: Workshops
Session Type: Pre-Conference
Primary Presenter: Stewart Donaldson
Additional Presenter: John A Gargani
Time: Oct 16, 2013 (12:00 PM - 03:00 PM)
Room: Columbia Section 7

Schedule: Half Day, Wednesday 12-3
Level: Beginner
Speakers: None


Evaluators often take an active role in program design, and understanding the basics of program design from a theory-driven evaluation perspective can be essential.

In this workshop, you will learn the five elements of a basic program design and how they relate to program theory and social science research. Begin to develop your skill in putting together the pieces of a program with the potential to improve social, health, educational, organizational and other issues. Mini-lectures interspersed with small-group activities will help you apply and understand the concepts presented. Examples from evaluation practice will be provided to illustrate main points and key take-home messages, and you will receive a handout of further resources.

You will learn:

  • How to develop a basic program design from a theory-driven evaluation perspective;
  • How to use logic models, program theories, theories of change and social science theory to design and improve social, health, educational and organizational programs;
  • How to identify roles evaluators can play in designing programs;
  • How to describe and address the common challenges, professional and ethical issues involved when evaluators are designing or improving programs.

Stewart Donaldson has taught graduate courses on Evaluation Theory and Evaluation Practice, Theory-Driven Evaluation Science, Organization Development and Change, Directed Research in Evaluation and Directed Research in Positive Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior. He also provides distance education courses and professional development workshops in a variety of university and professional venues on topics including Basics of Evaluation and Applied Research, Practical Program Evaluation, What Counts as Credible Evidence in Applied Research and Evaluation, Evaluation Theory, Evaluation Practicum and Advanced Applications of Program Theory. John Gargani has helped a wide variety of clients design and evaluate programs for 20 years. Current program design projects include working with a statewide agency to develop a radically new approach to K-12 history instruction in California; working with a community-based organization to design a program in which adolescents develop positive social interactions by building wooden boats using traditional methods; and working with researchers to design new technologies that can help professionals improve group cognition, decision making and consensus.

Session 51: Program Design

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