Developmental evaluation: Applying complexity concepts to enhance innovation & use

In this book, Michael Quinn Patton describes the process of conducting developmental evaluations for ongoing program development.

The book includes the following ten sections and makes use of case examples and stories, cartoons, sidebars, and summary tables throughout:


  • Developmental Evaluation defined and positioned
  • Developmental Evaluation as a distinct purpose and niche
  • Thinking outside evaluation's boxes
  • Situation recognition and responsiveness: Distinguishing simple, complicated, and complex
  • Systems thinking and complexity concepts for Developmental Evaluation
  • How the world is changed: A dialectic with thesis and antithesis and Developmental Evaluation as the synthesis
  • The adaptive cycle and Developmental Evaluation
  • Developmental Evaluation inquiry frameworks
  • Developmental Evaluation bricolage: Reflective practice, sensitizing concepts, action research, abduction, systems change
  • Utilization-Focused Developmental Evaluation: Engagement practices, diverse designs, and adaptive options


Patton, M. (2010). Developmental evaluation applying complexity concepts to enhance innovation and use. New York, NY: Guilford Press. Retrieved from

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