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Congress and Program Evaluation: An Overview of Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) and Related Issues
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Authors: Clinton T. Brass, Blas Nunez-Neto, and Erin D. Williams 
Book Description:
This book is devoted to program evaluations which can play an important role in public policy debates and in oversight of government programs, potentially affecting decisions about program design, operation, and funding. One technique that has received significant recent attention is the randomized controlled trial (RCT). There are also many other types of evaluation, including the observational and qualitative designs.

Table of Contents:
Preface

Introduction;pp. 1-3

Congress, Program Evaluation, and Policy Making;pp. 5-6
Key Questions about Government Programs and Policies

Program Evaluation and Informed Policy Making;pp. 7-8

Types of Program Evaluation;pp. 9

Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs);pp. 11

Many Other Methods;pp. 13

Possible Congressional Roles Concerning Program Evaluation;pp. 15

Making Program Evaluation Policy;pp. 17

Scrutinizing and Learning From Program Evaluations;pp. 19-20

Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs);pp. 21-22
What are RCTs?- RCT Defined

Internal Validity;pp. 23-24

External Validity;pp. 25-26

Construct Validity;pp. 27-28

Evaluation Quality;pp. 29-30

Practical Capabilities and Limitations of RCTs;pp. 31-32

RCT Capabilities;pp. 33-34

RCT Limitations;pp. 35-36

RCTs in Context: Program Evaluation and Systematic Review;pp. 37
Concerns About Single Studies and Study Quality

Study Quality: A Hierarchy of Evidence?;pp. 39-40

Systematic Review in Health Care;pp. 41-42

Systematic Review in Social Science-Related Areas;pp. 43-44

Recent Attention to Using RCTs in Program Evaluation;pp. 45

Controversy in Education Policy: A Priority for RCTs?;pp. 47

Authority Cited for the ED Priority: NCLB and
“Scientifically Based Research”;pp. 49-50

Reactions to the Priority;pp. 51-52

Implications and Related Developments;pp. 53-56

Assessing Programs in the Budget Process: The PART;pp. 57-58
The Bush Administration’s Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART)

Use of the PART;pp. 59-60

RCTs and the PART;pp. 61-63

Judging “Success”;pp. 65-67

Potential Issues for Congress;pp. 69

Issues When Directing or Scrutinizing RCTs;pp. 71

Considering Study Parameters;pp. 73-76

Scrutinizing, or Prospectively Assessing, Studies’ Internal
and External Validity;pp. 77-80

Issues When Directing or Scrutinizing Program Evaluations;pp. 81

What Types of Evaluations are Necessary?;pp. 83-84

What Definitions and Assumptions are Being Used?;pp. 85-86

How Should Congress Use Evaluation Information When Considering and Making Policy?;pp. 87-88

How Much Confidence Should One Have in a Study in Order to Inform One’s Thinking and Decisions?;pp. 89-90

Do Agencies Have Capacity and Independence to Properly Conduct, Interpret, and Objectively Present Program
Evaluations?;pp. 91-92

Appendix A: Glossary of Selected Terms and Concepts;pp. 93-100
The Vocabulary of Program Evaluation
Selected Terms and Concepts

References;pp. 101-121

Index

   Binding: Softcover
   Pub. Date: 2008, 2nd Quarter
   Pages: 128 pp.
   ISBN: 978-1-60456-397-9
   Status: AV
  
Status Code Description
AN Announcing
FM Formatting
PP Page Proofs
FP Final Production
EP Editorial Production
PR At Prepress
AP At Press
AV Available
  
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Congress and Program Evaluation: An Overview of Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) and Related Issues