Completing Your Evaluation Dissertation, Thesis, or Culminating Project

Completing Your Evaluation Dissertation, Thesis, or Culminating Project

Tamara M. Walser, Michael S. Trevisan


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This practical, user-friendly resource helps students successfully complete an evaluation capstone: a dissertation, thesis, or culminating project where a student conducts an evaluation as their capstone experience. Authors Tamara M. Walser and Michael S. Trevisan present a framework to support students and faculty in maximizing student development of evaluator competencies, addressing standards of the evaluation profession, and contributing to programs and disciplinary knowledge. Their framework, and this book, is organized by six fundamentals of evaluation practice: quality; stakeholders; understanding the program; values; approaches; and maximizing evaluation use. Throughout the book they use the metaphor of the journey to depict the processes and activities a student will experience as they navigate an evaluation capstone and the six fundamentals of evaluation practice. In pursuit of a completed capstone, students grow professionally and personally, and will be in a different place when they reach the destination and the capstone journey is complete.


Tamara M. Walser:

Dr. Tamara Walser has worked in the evaluation field for more than 25 years. She is a professor in the department of Educational Leadership at the University of North Carolina Wilmington where she coordinates the Evaluation and Organizational Learning M.S. degree and Evaluation post-baccalaureate certificate program; she teaches courses in evaluation, inquiry methods, and academic writing. Dr. Walser previously worked as an evaluator in non-profit and for-profit organizations. She has served as Principal Investigator, Co-Principal Investigator, Project Manager, Lead Evaluator, and as an Advisory Group member on numerous grants and contracts focused on evaluation; and has presented research and training on evaluation nationally and internationally. She co-authored the book, Evaluability Assessment: Improving Evaluation Quality and Use, published in 2015. Dr. Walser obtained a Ph.D. in Research and Evaluation and a M.S. in Instructional Design and Development from Utah State University; she earned a B.A. in French from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and began her professional career as a French teacher.


Dr. Mike Trevisan is the dean of the College of Education and professor of educational psychology at Washington State University, where he has worked for 26 years. Dr. Trevisan has been principal investigator or co-principal investigator on many grants and contracts that require evaluation and has obtained more than $8 million in external funding. Dr. Trevisan is widely published in the field of evaluation and is often tapped as a consultant in the planning, development, and implementation of evaluations at both the local and national levels. He has provided evaluation workshops to K-12 school districts, state agencies, universities, nonprofit groups, the United Nations Population Fund, and professional meetings. His recent work focuses on the development of evaluation capacity internationally. To this end, he has provided evaluation workshops to students, faculty, and practitioners in several countries including India, Italy, and Thailand. In 2018, he received a Fulbright specialist award to Korea to help develop evaluation capacity among K-12 school counselors. Dr. Trevisan co-authored the book, Evaluability Assessment: Improving Evaluation Quality and Use, published in 2015.