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Utilization-Focused Evaluation

Utilization-Focused Evaluation

Fifth Edition

January 2022 | 432 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
The Fifth Edition of the bestselling Utilization-Focused Evaluation provides expert, detailed advice on conducting evaluations that promote effective use of the findings. Chock full of useful pedagogy, this book presents Michael Quinn Patton's distinctive opinions based on more than forty years of experience, and also the expertise of new co-author Charmagne E. Campbell-Patton. The authors begin by describing the essence of utilization-focused evaluation, and then outline 10 operating principles. They conclude with chapters focused on how evaluation can be used to promote a more thoughtful, equitable, and sustainable world. Richly illustrated with examples, figures, and cartoons, this engaging text shows readers how to design and conduct evaluations that provide useful findings, and which contribute to a more equitable society.

A companion website for instructors and students is available to accompany this book at
Part 1: What Utilization-Focused Evaluation Is and Why It Matters
1. The What, Why, How, Who, Where, And When Of Utilization-Focused Evaluation
2. The Essence Of Utilization-Focused Evaluation Expressed As Minimum Specifications
3. Utilization-Focused Evaluative Thinking
4. The High Stakes Of Evaluation Use, Nonuse And Misuse
Part 2: Utilization-Focused Evaluation Principles
5. Guide To Utilization-Focused Evaluation Principles
6. Contextualize U-Fe Operating Principle 1
7. Personalize U-Fe Operating Principle 2
8. Customize U-Fe Operating Principle 3
9. Align U-Fe Operating Principle 4
10. Prioritize U-Fe Operating Principle 5
11. Engage Users U-Fe Operating Principle 6
12. Strategize Process Use U-Fe Operating Principle 7
13. Adapt U-Fe Operating Principle 8
14. Mobilize Follow Through U-Fe Operating Principle 9
15. Reflect And Learn U-Fe Operating Principle 10
Part 3: Review and Conclusion
16. Learning Breakthroughs In Applying Utilization-Focused Evaluation Principles
17. The High Stakes Of Evaluative Thinking And Reality-Testing
18. Using Evaluation To Contribute To A More Equitable And Sustainable World
19. Evaluation For Transformation
Part 4: Review
20. Utilization-Focused Evaluation For Transformation: Toward A More Thoughtful, Equitable, And Sustainable World


Instructor Resource Site
Instructor Resource Site 
Online resources included with this text 
The online resources for your text are available via the password-protected Instructor Resource Site, which offers access to all text-specific resources, including a test bank and editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides. 
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Not adopted, but sections were utilized in lecture and text was shared as a resource with students.

Shawnda Schroeder
Other, University Of North Dakota
May 1, 2023

It is the reference manual of utilization-focused evaluation, one of the main approaches to public policy evaluation. Very well organized and easy to work as a pedagogical support material.

Professor Sérgio Vital Braz Caramelo
Business Administration, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL)
December 17, 2022
Key features
  • Provides expert, detailed advice on conducting evaluations that promote effective use of the findings.
  • Richly illustrated with examples, figures, and cartoons.
  • Includes a companion website with materials for instructors and students.

All chapters are new. The revised book has a different organization so the flow and content of chapters is different.  No chapters are repeated exactly from the 4th edition.

The revised book is in three parts. The first part describes what utilization-focused evaluation is (chapter 1) and why it matters (chapter 4). For the first time we identify the minimum specifications (min specs) that must be manifested to authentically call an evaluation utilization-focused (chapter 2). Lots of evaluators call their approach utilization-focused. Many are, some aren’t.  Adherence to min specs identify which are and which aren’t.  Chapter 3 examines the increased importance of evaluative thinking in the last decade, that is, not just conducting evaluations but thinking evaluatively as a general approach to making sense of what is happening in any given context.

The second part of the book presents the single overarching principle of utilization-focused evaluation (chapter 5) followed by 10 operating principles (a chapter devoted to each). As noted above, elaborating these principles is a new way of understanding the practice of utilization-focused evaluation.

The third and final part of the book takes on new directions in evaluation and, correspondingly, new directions in U-FE.  We begin with the contemporary context. Misinformation is rampant. Political ideologies trump evidence about what works. Social media make the spread of falsehoods easy and incessant.  What is evaluation’s role under these conditions?  Chapter 17 offers a utilization-focused perspective.

Chapter 18 makes the case that evaluation can be used to contribute to a more equitable and sustainable world.  This is no small claim.  Nor is it without controversy.  Traditionally evaluation’s role has been to observe and judge but not to intervene.  But, in wisdom going back as far as ancient Greece, desperate times call for desperate measures. The climate crisis qualifies as desperate times. Global inequities exacerbate the disparate effects of crises like the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change.  Under crisis conditions, the question becomes whether evaluation is part of the problem or can become part of the solution.  Chapter 18 offers a vision of evaluation as part of the solution.

That vision becomes even more pronounced in chapter 19 where we consider evaluation for transformation. TRANSFORMATION has become the clarion call on the global stage. Humans are depleting the Earth’s resources at levels, scales, and speed that are changing Earth’s ecological systems and, in so doing, warming, polluting, and degrading the environment at a level that threatens not just humanity, but the natural world.  Transformation globally is urgently required to avoid catastrophe for humanity and biodiversity on Earth.  Chapter 19 examines evaluation’s role in and potential contribution to global and local systems transformations.

Chapter 20, the book’s concluding chapter, reviews the principles of utilization-focused and applies them to the new and emergent directions for utilization-focused evaluation. The book concludes with the affirmation that utilization-focused evaluation has been on a developmental trajectory and moves into the future committed to continue to evolve and develop in taking on the challenges of contributing to a more just and sustainable world locally and globally. 

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ISBN: 9781544379456