Discussion Exploring Evaluation Strategies Program evaluation is a methodological area that is closely related to, but distinguishable from, more traditional social science research and utilizes many of the same methodologies as traditional research. As it often takes place in a political and organizational context, it requires group skills, management ability, political dexterity, sensitivity to multiple stakeholders, and other skills not always needed in social science research. Researchers may approach program evaluation from two different perspectives: formative and summative. Formative evaluation is the process of judging an ongoing, changing process or product for diagnosis, revision, , information, or comparison. The essence of formative evaluation is to improve programs, understand their strengths in order to amplify them, or isolate and address weaknesses. Summative evaluation, on the other hand, assesses outcomes or effectiveness of programs that have already been (and may continue to be) implemented. Summative evaluation is sometimes a final-end judgment serving purposes of persuasion, verification, prediction, or validity. Its aim is to identify patterns of performance, judging these against general criteria such as effectiveness, value, or impact. Summative evaluation is commonly conducted after completion of the activity for the benefit of an external audience. Within the broad categories of formative and summative evaluation, there are many different evaluation strategies that you could use to evaluate a program or policy. Among those covered in your book are improvement-oriented evaluations, needs assessments, and cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness evaluations, just to name a few. Each has different strengths and weaknesses and is more or less appropriate for specific research studies. For this Discussion, consider which evaluation strategies might be relevant to your area of professional interest and what factors are most important when choosing an evaluation strategy. Then consider research scenarios for which formative evaluation would be appropriate and ones for which summative evaluation would be appropriate. With these thoughts in mind: Post by Day 4 three evaluation strategies that might be relevant to your area of professional interest. Describe a study idea within your area of interest for which formative evaluation would be appropriate and explain why. Then describe a study idea within your area of interest for which summative evaluation would be appropriate and explain why. Finally, explain the factors that you think are most important to consider when choosing an evaluation strategy. AREA OF PROFESSIONAL INTEREST IS JUVENILE PROBABTION. Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.