We share the view that evaluation is, primarily, a cooperative effort directed at program improvement and, secondarily, conducted for the purpose of providing a critical assessment of what program goals have been attained.
We design evaluations that investigate how and why, as well as whether, a particular program is succeeding or failing in its implementation. This utilization-focused approach allows for ongoing discussion, analysis, and suggestions for change.
The issues and questions that are of central concern to the program determine our data collection methods: what program developers hope to accomplish and what questions are of interest to them. In addition, we are attentive to emergent themes and unanticipated outcomes.
We employ a mixed-methods approach to ensure that our understanding of a particular program is both broad and deep. Historically our methods are rooted in qualitative, social science research traditions, such as direct observation, open-ended and semi-structured interviews, focus groups, surveys, and reviews of program products. We meet clients’ needs for quantitative data by analyzing the extent to which participants or other targeted audiences have achieved the program’s goals.
Before we submit reports to funders we share them in draft form with our clients for review and comment. We report findings to both clients and funders in several ways, as appropriate: interim and final reports, informal memos, presentations, articles and conference presentations.
Current and Past Work
The domain of PERG's work extends across the United States and the group has a presence at national and international meetings and conferences.
PERG enjoys nationwide respect for its ability to evaluate diverse programs in a range of settings. PERG's current research and evaluation activities - which include both large-scale, national-level projects involving several regional sites, as well as smaller-scale projects - fall loosely into the following categories:
- Arts programs & partnerships
- Curriculum development, implementation and dissemination
- Cultural/international exchange
- Informal education
- Museum exhibits and programs
- Out of school time
- Partnerships & collaborations
- Professional development
- Public agency education and outreach activities
- Systemic reform: science and mathematics
PERGs projects have been funded by a range of organizations including:
- National Science Foundation
- US Department of Education
- Massachusetts Department of Education
- Institute for Museum and Library Services
- US Department of State
- National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
- Private Foundations
Please see a complete list of our works by visiting the following pages: Bibliography, Selected Reports, and Project Spotlights.