Evaluating theory-based evaluation: Information, norms, and adherence

W. Jake Jacobs, Melissa Sisco, Dawn Hill, Frederic Malter, Aurelio José Figueredo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Programmatic social interventions attempt to produce appropriate social-norm-guided behavior in an open environment. A marriage of applicable psychological theory, appropriate program evaluation theory, and outcome of evaluations of specific social interventions assures the acquisition of cumulative theory and the production of successful social interventions - the marriage permits us to advance knowledge by making use of both success and failures. We briefly review well-established principles within the field of program evaluation, well-established processes involved in changing social norms and social-norm adherence, the outcome of several program evaluations focusing on smoking prevention, pro-environmental behavior, and rape prevention and, using the principle of learning from our failures, examine why these programs often do not perform as expected. Finally, we discuss the promise of learning from our collective experiences to develop a cumulative science of program evaluation and to improve the performance of extant and future interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)354-369
Number of pages16
JournalEvaluation and Program Planning
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Altruistic punishment
  • Automaticity
  • Declarative routines
  • Experimenting society
  • Governance
  • Instrumental behavior
  • Instrumental verbiage
  • Norm adherence
  • Pro-environmental programs
  • Procedural routines
  • Program evaluation
  • Psycho-educational intervention
  • Rule
  • Sexual violence prevention programs
  • Smoking prevention programs
  • Social norms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Business and International Management
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Strategy and Management
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluating theory-based evaluation: Information, norms, and adherence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this