Conceptual and Practical Analysis of Costs and Benefits in Evaluation: Developing a Cost Analysis Tool for Practical Program Evaluation

Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Michael Scriven


Cost-effectiveness, cost-feasibility and comparative superiority are important cost issues that need to be addressed in ex-ante, in medias res, and ex-post evaluations. A review of the evaluation literature, however, indicates that cost analysis is not always done--and when it is done, it frequently is not done well. This partly may be a result of its complexity, coupled with the fact that many evaluators do not possess the requisite skills to conduct cost analysis. This research developed a tool to simplify the procedures for conducting comprehensive cost analysis in program evaluation. In developing this tool, the conceptual and practical analysis of costs and benefits in evaluation were analyzed in detail. Scriven's (1991) Cost Cube that was illustrated by E. Jane Davidson (2003) was also redesigned to make it more applicable to the Cost Analysis Checklist tool. The modified model is referred to as the Costs Identification Model. A Benefits Identification Model was also developed to facilitate benefits identification. In developing the tool, special care was taken to ensure that the tool is user-friendly for noneconomists. The targeted audience for this tool is new evaluators and evaluation students.

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Dissertation-Abstract Only

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