I want to share some information with you from a resource I mentioned last month. The resource is Edward Suchman’s 1967 book, Evaluative Research and the information is this diagram, which presents a basic model of evaluation:1
I share the diagram because it presents two ideas that don’t always percolate to the top of discussions of library outcome assessment. The first idea is the need for programmatic values to be made explicit beforehand. Suchman, who worked in the public health field, gave this example:
Suppose we begin with the value that it is better for people to have their own teeth rather than false teeth. We may then set our goal that people shall retain their teeth as long as possible.2
Of course, it’s quite possible to hold different values. For instance, one might prefer false teeth over natural ones . . . [Read more]
1 Suchman, E. A. (1967). Evaluative research: Principles and practice in public service and social action programs, New York: Russell Sage, p.34.
2 Suchman, E. A., p. 35.