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The sourcebook is neither the first nor the most visible sign that new information technologies (new media hereafter) are rapidly diffusing throughout our society to homes, organization, communities, and institutions. However, it is indicative of a growing awareness that evaluation research needs to consider new media both as valuable and appropriate contexts for analysis and as an opportunity to apply expertise and insights to an increasingly significant component of social activity. This chapter has two parts. The first reviews the process by which new media are diffused. The second describes some characteristics of new media that have implications for evaluation research.

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