Tuesday, October 20, 2009

20 Essential Program/Project Evaluation Books

If you have an interest in having several books on program/project evaluation as a reference, you may want to include those book that are most often purchased together.
Using the online book store, Amazon.com, I began my search to determine which books might be best to have in an evaluation library by starting with the most known evaluation book, Evaluation: A Systematic Approach, by Peter Rossi. Amazon.com also provides a list of other books purchased by those people who purchased a certain book. Starting with Rossi's book, which is generally recognized as an evaluation primer, I made a list of all evaluation books people purchased with Rossi's Evaluation: A Systematic Approach. Then I looked-up each one of those books (as of October 2009) and made the same list of books purchased with each on of them until I had reached almost 550 citations for 110 books on evaluation. (Of course, there is a degree of selection bias in this method since this list will show primarily American readership and only for those who purchase books online.)
The map below shows the purchasing patterns for the 110 books on evaluation purchased in the US. The cluster in the middle of the map is those evaluation books most often purchased together.Taking those books that received the most citations of being purchased together I created the top 10 list, and the next 10 list, which are then the 20 most essential books on program/project evaluation.

Taking those books that received the most citations of being purchased together I created the top 10 list, and the next 10 list, which are then the 20 most essential books on program/project evaluation.
Top 10 Program/Project Evaluation Books Purchased Together
  1. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, by John W. Creswell.
  2. Qualitative Research & Evaluation Methods, by Michael Quinn Patton (Editor).
  3. Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing among Five Approaches, by John W. Creswell.
  4. Evaluation: A Systematic Approach, Peter H. Rossi, Mark W. Lipsey, and Howard E. Freeman.
  5. Handbook of Practical Program Evaluation, Joseph S. Wholey, Harry P. Hatry, Kathryn E. Newcomer.
  6. Program Evaluation: Alternative Approaches and Practical Guidelines, Jody L Fitzpatrick, James R Sanders, Blaine R Worthen.
  7. Utilization-Focused Evaluation, Michael Quinn Patton.
  8. Logic Modeling Methods in Program Evaluation, Joy A. Frechtling.
  9. Evaluation Methodology Basics: The Nuts and Bolts of Sound Evaluation, E. Jane Davidson.
  10. Evaluation Theory, Models, and Applications, Daniel L. Stufflebeam, Anthony J. Shinkfield.
Next 10
11. Program Evaluation and Performance Measurement: An Introduction to Practice, James C. McDavid and Laura R. L. Hawthorn.
12. RealWorld Evaluation: Working Under Budget, Time, Data, and Political Constraints, Michael J. Bamberger, Jim Rugh, and Linda Mabry.
13. The Program Evaluation Standards: How to Assess Evaluations of Educational Programs, James R. Sanders.
14. Evaluation, Carol H. Weiss.
15. Practical Program Evaluation: Assessing and Improving Planning, Implementation, and Effectiveness, Huey Tsyh Chen
16. Case Study Research: Design and Methods, Robert K. Yin
17. Designing and Conducting Mixed Methods Research, John W. Creswell and Dr. Vicki L. Plano Clark.
18. Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs for Generalized Causal Inference, William R. Shadish, Thomas D. Cook, and Donald T. Campbell.
19. The Research Methods Knowledge Base, William Trochim and James P Donnelly.
20. Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory, Juliet Corbin and Anselm C. Strauss.

Other books I found of interest:
  • What Counts as Credible Evidence in Applied Research and Evaluation Practice?, Stewart I. Donaldson, Christina A. Christie, and Dr. Melvin (Mel) M. Mark.
  • Program Theory-Driven Evaluation Science: Strategies and Applications, Stewart I. Donaldson
  • Counterfactuals and Causal Inference: Methods and Principles for Social Research, Stephen L. Morgan and Christopher Winship.
  • How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of "Intangibles" in Business, Douglas W. Hubbard
  • Quasi-Experimentation: Design and Analysis Issues for Field Settings, Thomas D. Cook and Donald T. Campbell.
  • Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians, and Activists, Joel Best.


  1. The map and lists are very helpful. Thank you!

  2. You've missed a big one: Lee Cronbach. Designing Evaluations of Educational and Social Programs. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1982. He/it is *the* counterpoint to Campbell, in his point of view and approach to evaluation/research and in his stature.

    Eric Weir
    Decatur, GA USA

  3. What software did you use to create this map?

  4. This was made using NodeXL, which is a free Excel add-on, which you can find at:


  5. thank you , thank you very much . rally this guidance deserve a lot of appreciation. it is very helpful for the people like me who are totally unaware and do not know how to read , from where to read. thanks again
    Anchal kumar