Cumulative Knowledge and Generalizability in an Age of Context: Five Questions to Consider Seriously While Evaluating Comprehensive Community Initiatives

Mary Utne O'Brien, University of Illinois at Chicago
Sanjeev Sridharan, WESTAT

ABSTRACT
In recent years, Comprehensive Community Initiatives have been implemented in a number of criminal justice settings. Examples include the Comprehensive Strategy for Serious, Violent and Chronic Juvenile Offenders, Safe Futures, Safe Start and the Greenbook. In this presentation we will discuss five questions that evaluations of community initiatives need to consider seriously. Our discussion will raise both the broader philosophical and pragmatic methodological issues relating to evaluations of comprehensive community initiatives . This presentation will be a collaborative project between two evaluators: one who has worked extensively with local communities on a number of school and community-based prevention projects, and a second who has worked on methodological development for National cross-site evaluations of community initiatives.

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Updated 05/20/2006