Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Nicholas Andreadis


Following a literature review, a researcher generated a descriptive theory of evaluation mainstreaming, the integration of systematic evaluation into the culture, systems, and job responsibilities of organizations. She then explored the validity and generalizability of the theory in the National Science Foundation’s grant-funded Advanced Technological Education Program using mixed methods research. Four centers were chosen based on quantitative survey responses which suggested that the organizations were likely to be mainstreaming evaluation. For each center, the researcher conducted a site visit, interviews, and document review to understand (i) the processes by and extent to which evaluation became part of everyday operations; (ii) the characteristics of the leaders and culture that made the integration of evaluation possible; and (iii) the organizational capabilities, systems, structures, and practices that have made evaluation sustainable, effective, and useful.

In this dissertation, the researcher presents the descriptive theory as well as the four individual case studies and cross-case analysis through which the theory was explored and refined. Key findings support the existence of three streams and six developmental stages of evaluation within organizations and the importance of (i) leaders who possess characteristics of personal vision and commitment to the truth about current reality; (ii) organizational culture in which staff and partners have shared vision and values; (iii) organizational capabilities such as prioritizing, strategic staffing, team functioning, and creating collaborative external partnerships to listen and learn; and (iv) organizational systems to acquire, analyze, disseminate, and utilize evaluative information. Specific evaluation practices of each center are also presented. Future research should test the descriptive theory of mainstreaming evaluation in broader organizational contexts.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access