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Arnold School of Public Health


HPEB’s Ruth P. Saunders publishes Implementation Monitoring & Process Evaluation textbook, serves as practical guide

May 5, 2015 | Erin Bluvas, bluvase@sc.edu 

Prior to today, there really wasn’t a methods textbook on program implementation and monitoring. So with encouragement from her students and support from SAGE Publications®, Ruth Saunders developed Implementation Monitoring & Process Evaluation. A Professor Emerita in the Arnold School of Public Health’s Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, Saunders has 25 years of research and practice experience in conducting program, policy and practice change in organizational settings, including preschools, schools, afterschool settings, children’s group homes and faith-based settings. 

She also has 28 years of teaching experience with master’s and doctoral level courses in program planning, program evaluation, process evaluation and implementation monitoring, and interventions targeting physical and social environments. “This book is the culmination of my experience with implementing and monitoring programs and interventions in real-world settings,” Saunders says. “It is based on the material that I have been teaching and my experiences with implementation, monitoring and evaluation to date.”

The primary purpose of this book is to provide a practical guide for practitioners, researchers, students preparing to be program planners, program implementers and program evaluators in public health, nonprofit and educational settings. For these audiences, it describes and illustrates the steps a program planner and/or program evaluator would take to plan and carry out a comprehensive approach to implementing and monitoring a new program, policy or practice in an organizational setting.

Saunders’ book can serve as a primary text for a course related to process evaluation, implementation monitoring or implementation science. Alternatively, it can serve as a supplemental text in a broader evaluation or program planning course. The book is ready to use outside academic settings as well. “It is applicable to social and educational programs in a variety of organizational settings including recreational facilities, senior centers, group homes, faith-based organizations, hospitals, clinics and other community-based organizations,” Saunders says.

One of the key features of the book is its emphasis on practical application methods, providing sequential steps to follow and demonstrating these steps through examples. Utilizing “Your Turn” and resource boxes, an ongoing case study and complementary worksheets that can be accessed online, the textbook offers a flexible roadmap to help readers translate core concepts into concrete actions.

“This textbook is the product of a discovery process that began some years ago when I ventured outside the classroom into the ‘real world’ to carry out practice and research interventions in public health settings,” Saunders explains. “The challenge of translating idealized, context-independent program plans into a meaningful process that actual people with varied motivations and skills can carry out in complex, real-world settings with the aim of producing certain desired outcomes was and continues to be a transformative experience,” she adds.

And it’s been an experience that Saunders has enjoyed. “Working on this textbook has been a pleasure,” she says. “I am deeply grateful for the support I’ve received from my research teams over the years and for the encouragement and votes of confidence that I have received from students over the years.”

Saunders’ book is now available on Amazon. For questions or comments, you can contact her at rsaunders@sc.edu.