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Participatory Evaluation Presented by: : Lauren Kofchak EPS 654 - Program Evaluation
What is Participatory Evaluation? “ Applied social research that involves a partnership between trained evaluation personnel and practice-based decision makers, organization members with program responsibilities, or individuals with a vital interest in the program. ” (Cousins & Whitmore, 1998).
Historical Context In the 1960 s: Growing concern about the mechanistic and insensitive approaches of evaluation. Mid-1970 s : The National Institute of Education developed the practice of stakeholder evaluation. This model stressed the importance of involving stakeholders with first hand experience with the evaluand in the evaluation process. Participatory Evaluation is viewed as an extension to the conventional stakeholder evaluation model.
Two Forms of Participatory Evaluation Two forms of Participatory Evaluation which are differentiated by the rationale behind them. Practical Participatory Evaluation Transformative Participatory Evaluation
Practical Participatory Evaluation Engages stakeholders in the “Nuts and Bolts” Relatively small number of primary users Evaluator’s role: technical support, training, and quality control Ideally, organizations develop technical knowledge and skills to take on coordinating role in the future. Evaluator serves strictly as a consultant.
Characteristics of Methods (Cousins & Whitmore, 1998) Stakeholder Practical Transformative Principal Authors Bryk, Mark & Shotland Ayers, Cousins & Earl Tardon & Fernandes, Fals. Borda, Gaventa Primary Goals Evaluation utilization; some emphasis on political aspects Program decision making and problem solving, evaluation utilization Empowerment, emancipation, social justice Decision Makers Evaluator: coordinator of activities and technical aspects Partnership between evaluator and participants Partnership but ultimately participants control decisions Participants All legitimate groups Primary Users: sponsors, managers, developers All legitimate groups especially beneficiaries Depth of Participation Limited- consulted for planning and interpretation Extensive– involved in all phases of evaluation Extensive- involved in all phases of evaluation
Transformative Participatory Evaluation Emerged primarily in the developing world in the 1970 s Philosophical foundations derived from Paolo Freire Empowers staff through participation Encourages continuous collective critical thinking Evaluator guards against self-serving interests Challenge: risk of lack of consensus on program goals
When Should Participatory Evaluation Be Used? Best suited formative evaluation To build internal evaluation capacity To increase utility of evaluation findings To obtain “buy-in” and involvement of stakeholders
Organizational Requirements for Participatory Evaluation Value evaluation Provide the necessary time and resources Organizational learning as a route to improvement Motivated to engage in the evaluation Ability to learn given the appropriate training
Evaluator Requirements for Participatory Evaluation Training and expertise concerning technical skills Accessible to organizations Provide resources for the research process Pedagogical role Motivated to participate in the evaluation Tolerance for imperfection
Benefits of Stakeholder Involvement Enhances social discourse Individual and group reflection Enhances organizational learning Better informed decision-making Builds confidence and pride in organization
Challenges to Participatory Evaluation Power struggle Who is in charge? How do individuals with varying degrees of authority/power collaborate on an “even playing field” in the evaluation process? How much should the evaluator mediate these situations? Ethics Who owns findings? Who decides what data will be included and to what extent? Is the data being manipulated? Participation Who identifies primary stakeholders and determines who will participate?
References Cousins, J. B. & Earl, L. M. (1992, Winter). The Case for Participatory Evaluation. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 14(4), 397 -418. doi: 10. 3102/01623737014004397 Cousins, J. B. & Earl, L. M. (1995). Participatory evaluation: enhancing evaluation use and organizational learning capacity. The Evaluation Exchange. 1(3/4). Harvard Family Research Project. Cousins, J. B. & Whitmore, E. (1998, Winter). Framing participatory evaluation. New Directions for Evaluation, 1998(80), 5 -23. doi: 10. 1002/ev. 1114. Russ-Eft, D. (2009). Evaluation in organizations: A systematic approach to enhancing learning, performance, and change (2 nd Ed. ). New York, NY: Basic Books. Upshur, C. C. & Barreto-Cortez, E. (1995). What is participatory evaluation? What are its roots? . The Evaluation Exchange. 1(3/4). Harvard Family Research Project. Zukoski, A. & Luluquisen, M. (2002, Apr. ). Participatory evaluation. What is it? Why do it? What are the challenges? Community based public health policy & practice. , 5, The California Endowment and Public Health Institute.