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The Harvard Family Research Project separated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education to become the Global Family Research Project as of January 1, 2017. It is no longer affiliated with Harvard University.

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Heather Weiss

I would like to begin by thanking all who responded to our reader survey. We appreciated hearing your comments about The Evaluation Exchange—what works and what doesn’t—and how we can do better. Our goal is to produce an interactive newsletter, bringing together different voices and providing a forum for readers to share new ideas about evaluation. The information we received through the survey was therefore of great value to us. A brief summary of the survey results is on page 16. In response to your comments, we will be making some changes to the format of the newsletter—look for those in the next issue!

In this issue, we include several articles on methodological topics, particularly those involving complex initiatives or problems. First, HFRP consultant Julia Coffman writes about using a logic model approach to evaluate a large and diverse foundation initiative, in our Theory and Practice section. We also include two articles on complex methodological issues in our Promising Practices section. The first, by James Kee of George Washington University, explains the difference between cost-benefit analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis, including some basic examples and tips about when to use each. The second, by Ellen Taylor-Powell at University of Wisconsin-Cooperative Extension, discusses what to think about when evaluating collaboratives.

In our Questions and Answers section this time, we speak with Michael Scriven, professor of psychology at Claremont University and immediate past president of the American Evaluation Association, about the challenges to evaluation in the coming years. We highlight two evaluations in our Evaluations to Watch section. The first, by Laura Pinsoneault and James Sass of Alliance for Children and Families, describes an ongoing evaluation of a national replication of the Middle School Families and Schools Together Program. The second evaluation, by Donna Peterson and her colleagues at the University of Arizona, describes the organizational evaluation of the Cooperative Extension System’s capacity to support programs for children, youth, and families at risk. Our Beyond Basic Training section includes an article by Jill Chopyak on the community action research work of her organization, the Loka Institute. Finally, in our Spotlight section, Danielle Hollar of HFRP writes about the possibility of using an approach that provides a more comprehensive picture of the quality of people’s lives to examine the impact of welfare reform on individuals. As always, our New and Noteworthy section and our Electronic Mailbox provide information on useful evaluation resources.

We hope you will continue to provide us with feedback about how The Evaluation Exchange can be most useful to you. You may use the online survey form which is still posted on The Evaluation Exchange page of HFRP’s website, or email comments to us at any time. Thank you.

Heather B. Weiss, Ed.D.
Founder & Director
Harvard Family Research Project

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Published by Harvard Family Research Project