Also See: Endorsements and Purchase Information



Why Evaluate Sustainable Development?

Focusing the Evaluation
Framing the Evaluation
Asking Relevant Questions
Identifying Variables
Choosing Indicators

Sources of Data
Population or Sample
Types of Sampling
Sample Size
Sample Bias
Options for Collecting Data
Deciding which Techniques to Use

Analyzing Qualitative Data
Organizing Data from Within and Without
Analyzing Quantitative Data
Descriptive Statistics
The Mean
The Mode
The Median
Inferential Statistics
Analysis of Variance
Correlation Analysis
Regression Analysis
Choosing Statistical Procedures
Interpreting Findings
The Sustainable Farming Association

The Process of Communication
Communication Strategy

Creating a Customized Evaluation Plan
Potential Constraints and Suggested Solutions
Lack of Skills
Lack of Financial Resource
Lack of Time
Lack of Appreciation of Basic Sustainable Development Principles and Concepts
Omitting Total Costs
"Top-down" or Non-participatory Programming
Involvement of People
Principles of Sustainability
Lack of Vision and Leadership
Lack of Coordination
Special Interests
Balancing Thoroughness with Political Reality




Appendix 1: Evaluation of RSDP Projects: A Case Study
Appendix 2: Organization of data generated in June 25, 1999 by NE RSDP Board
Appendix 3: Reorganization of the June 25, 1999 data using outsiders' framework (Return to Top of Page)


"I congratulate Drs. Ukaga and Maser for their recent work, Evaluating Sustainable Development. Indeed, there is no topic more critical and timely to evaluation than that of allowing individuals to have a 'voice in their destiny.' Ukaga and Maser successfully link two essential elements:  participatory evaluation and sustainable development. This book communicates the important ingredients of the evaluation process and will be a helpful reference for practitioners, a useful guide for students and also provide valuable insights for administrators and faculty."—Richard A Krueger, Professor and Evaluation Leader, University of Minnesota.

"For agriculture to succeed, not only must the agricultural enterprise succeed, but the community that the farmer lives in must also succeed. In other words, not only must the farm be sustainable, but the community and its infrastructure, too. This book helps you determine community values and the legacy you want to leave your children. This is a step-by-step way of evaluating sustainable development for your community and how to make it happen."—Small Farm Today

"Engaging and laced with examples of how and why participation around sustainable development works. Excellent for community groups to read and implement together to build a sustainable future, and a handy tool for students. Ukaga and Maser show how evaluation is a tool for action."—Cornelia Butler Flora, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor of Agriculture Sociology and Director, North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, Iowa State University.

"Ukaga and Maser have constructed a book that helps organizations understand and implement power-filled evaluations.

"This book helps us formulate project objectives that are specific, measurable, and time bound and to formulate evaluation questions that are relevant to our objectives.

"True to the ideals and integration of sustainable development, this work encourages participation by the masses and focuses on economic, environmental, and community quality in a simultaneous and interlocking manner. The authors acknowledge the inherent complexity of sustainability and offer methods that reduce the intimidation of a complex working environment.

"The authors apply the concepts and practice of evaluation to all temporal stages of program management. Their evaluation processes ask us whether we should start a project, how it's working, whether we should change its course, and whether it is accomplishing its goals and objectives. They advocate ferreting out current values and conditions as a precursor to evaluation. This provides a baseline or starting point; so people can set goals for getting to an even better place, and effectively measure their progress toward that future place. In their model, a baseline description of a community, culture and organization is preparatory step toward crafting an evaluation of community stability and sustainability.

"They show us how to take our people beyond the usual drudgery and isolation of evaluation process, using the process to facilitate decisions, demonstrate accountability, enhance relationships and support planning. They make it critical for stakeholders to play active roles in evaluation of sustainable development so the challenges, opportunities, and circumstances of their world are represented therein. This form of participatory evaluation is a precursor to participatory decision-making. The involvement of advocates in evaluation of their own programs makes them the best judges of its success.

"This book has broad application. Ukaga and Maser have grounded their recommendations in their respective practices—from Minnesota to Nigeria. It offers evaluation methods for sustainability on both global and local scales; for those addressing immediate problems of survival and development in non-industrialized countries, and for those involved in large organizations and industrialized nations."—Dr. Steven B. Daley-Laursen, Dean, College of Natural Resources, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.

"…the book by Okechukwu Ukaga and Chris Maser is purely concerned with the procedural dimension of planning and community development. Their purpose is not to offer a means to evaluate the quality of sustainable development strategies but rather to propose a method for communities through which effective sustainable development strategies can be created. Recognizing that 'sustainable development can differ significantly from one place or group to another,' they are concerned with presenting 'a basic philosophy for participatory evaluation of sustainable development.'

"…this is the first book to specifically attempt to define a planning process that is based on sustainability, and the authors have done a credible job. The book is sprinkled with useful tidbits (such as the need for objectives to be smart and the six characteristics of an 'effective question'). The case studies for the most part succeed as illustrations of how the various presented concepts and ideas translate in the real world. And some of their remarks and comments are positively poetic (e.g., 'amid the flotsam and jetsam of change in which the decay of the dying era seems, at least momentarily, to overwhelm the formative one'). …"—Edward J. Jepson Jr., Assistant professor of planning, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Journal of Planning Literature (2005) 19:347-348.

"'Those who can best judge the success or failure of a project designed and implemented to achieve sustainable development are those who participated fully in all aspects of the project.' With this premise, the 192-page book Evaluating Sustainable Development:  Giving People a Voice in their Destiny presents the principles and the tools for participatory evaluation of sustainable development. The book is intended for citizens and organizations that are concerned with protecting or recovering a cultural heritage, assessing the impact of a project or of plans that impact an environment or ecosystem.

"Okey Ukaga (Executive Director of the Northeast Minnesota Sustainable Development Partnership) and Chris Maser (well-known sustainability author and past speaker at an Minnesota Sustainable Communities Network annual conference) wrote this book, published in December 2003. They map out, using many personal experiences and case studies from around the world, a participatory evaluation process. The goals of such a process are to: empower all interested stakeholders to determine and control what is to be evaluated and how it is evaluated, to articulate and define their community's vision, and to ensure that development plans meet their community's needs sustainably. Specific tools for collecting, analyzing, interpreting and presenting data are described."—Minnesota Sustainable Communities Network. (Return to Top of Page)

Purchase Information:

This book is available on Amazon.