Evaluation research is one of the standard social research methods which is used for evaluative purposes. It includes methodology and assessment to provide an objective, systematic, and comprehensive evaluation to social programs. The goal of most evaluation researches is not only to assess but also to provide an explanation for the success of failure of the evaluated program. The method is applicable to the programs of the local, national, and international importance.
Evaluation research, as a rule, consists of five stages with certain methodological problems and principles of guidance. Conceptualization of the objectives of the researched program is the first but not least important stage in the evaluation research. Identification of the goals to be achieved by the program may sound simple, however, it is crucial to evaluate the programs implemented in such critical fields as juvenile delinquency and mental health. At this stage, vague goals shall be put more correctly and precisely for the further stages to estimate the achievements adequately.
Formulation of the research specifics and criteria to prove the effectiveness of the program can be achieved in the laboratory conditions. Researchers conduct the experiment which measures the changes produced by the program and their effect on the target audience. Then it is crucial to anticipate errors which occur during the experiment as the ideal conditions can never be recreated in the laboratory. At the next stage, researchers estimate the effectiveness of the program which shows whether the program achieved its goals. Whether the involved costs were worth the benefits provided by the program? This is how effectiveness is defined. Not only measuring but explaining the estimated effectiveness takes place during the evaluation research, however, this stage may have rather theoretical application.