Professional and Practical Considerations for the Program Evaluation Dissertation




program evaluation, dissertation, problem of practice, dissertation in practice


This essay discusses the emergence of the program evaluation dissertation in our doctoral program as the preferred dissertation in practice (DiP) option. We also outline important considerations that must be reviewed with students when considering this approach. Our students are professional educational leaders in the settings where they conduct their dissertation research, emphasizing the importance of our doctoral faculty in addressing the potential implications of blending dissertation research with professional practice. Using the utilization-focused evaluation approach as a framework, we address professional and practical considerations to ensure effective evaluation designs to examine a specific problem of practice. These considerations include the student's relationship to the program being evaluated, the impact on their professional position, support for the evaluation, access to data collection, potential consent concerns, and the utilization of findings. We conclude with additional ethical considerations to be considered when supporting program evaluation dissertation work.

Author Biographies

Mary Alice Varga, University of West Georgia

Director and Associate Professor

Department of Leadership, Research, and School Improvement 

Katherine B. Green, University of West Georgia

Associate Professor and Program Coordinator

Department of Literacy and Special Education

Justin Grant Lindsey, University of West Georgia

Department of Research, Leadership, and School Improvement

School Improvement Doctoral Program Alumni 


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How to Cite

Varga, M. A., Green, K. B., & Lindsey, J. G. (2022). Professional and Practical Considerations for the Program Evaluation Dissertation. Impacting Education: Journal on Transforming Professional Practice, 7(1), 16–19.