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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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FINE Newsletter, Volume VII, Issue 4
Issue Topic: Evaluation and Improvement Science in Action

Voices From the Field

Evaluation needs and capacity are varied, but one thing is true across the board: Organizations need to frame their evaluation efforts in a comprehensive way that brings their program components together and explains how day-to-day implementation may yield the intended effects. At the Harvard Graduate School of Education, lecturer Candice Bocala trains future program evaluators in the art of supporting organizations to engage in cycles of ongoing inquiry and improvement using theory-based evaluation. Students in her class form small teams, and, as part of their field experience, “consult” with nonprofit organizations on developing program evaluation plans.

For this article (PDF), Harvard Family Research Project had the opportunity to talk with several graduate students taking Bocala’s class and the partner organizations they worked with, including United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, Somerville Family Learning Collaborative (SFLC), and Boston After School & Beyond (BASB). Although the three organizations had different evaluation needs, they all benefited from participating in a process of questioning and refining their program logic.


This resource is part of the November FINE Newsletter. The FINE Newsletter shares the newest and best family engagement research and resources from Harvard Family Research Project and other field leaders. To access the archives of past issues, please visit

© 2016 Presidents and Fellows of Harvard College
Published by Harvard Family Research Project