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Exploring Program Evaluation: Introduction

Welcome to the libguide on program evaluation!

What is Program Evaluation, and How it is Different than Research?

Program evaluation is applied research used for managerial and pragmatic reasons, such as whether objectives were accomplished or if the benefits justify the cost. While program evaluation is similar to basic research in that it follows a similar logical pattern of investigation, including having a problem statement, hypothesis, a literature review, a research design, and analysis, it is different because program evaluations have a pragmatic use that may not support a general body of knowledge. Basic research provides generalizable knowledge that builds upon a body of research and may be conducted without an applied purpose in mind.


Mertens, D. M. & Wilson, A. T. (2019). Program evaluation theory and practice: A comprehensive guide (2nd ed.). The Guilford Press.

Royse, D., Thyer, B. A., & Padgett, D. K. (2016). Program evaluation: An introduction to an evidence-based approach (6th ed.). Cengage.