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Evaluation is generally viewed as the systematic assessment of programs or intervention measures according to scientific methods and criteria. This process draws on methodological research strategies as well as systematic data collections and data analyses. Evaluation studies can be used to address a variety of aspects of a program or intervention measure (e.g., efficacy, implementation, theoretical foundation).

Evaluation research is an interdisciplinary field of science that has gained increasing international attention not only in psychology but also in sociology, political science, medicine, education, and other social and natural sciences. As a result of its multidisciplinary origins, there are numerous models and conceptions of evaluation and evaluation research as well as discipline-specific methodological problems. Nonetheless, there is a general consensus that a systematic evaluation of intervention is an essential basis for professional activities, and should be an integral part of public policy and political decision-making.

Our department takes a critical-rational orientation (in line with Cook & Campbell, 1979; Shadish, Cook, & Campbell, 2002) and focuses particularly on the applied perspective: Alongside methodological and conceptional issues in evaluation research, it specializes in concrete projects for evaluating psychological intervention measures in childhood and adolescence. A further research specialization is on the methods and problems of meta-evaluation, that is, on developing and testing instruments for the comparative assessment and integration of evaluation studies (see Research Synthesis).

Research Synthesis | Intervention | Evaluation