Slides and handout from AEA 2019 presentation "Tackling Wicked Problems in the Field of Evaluation: Whose Ontology? Whose Epistemology?
How can we challenge our frameworks and innovate and adapt our thinking to ensure evaluation practices leave no one behind? To do this, we must first interrogate the evaluation field’s ontological and epistemological assumptions and consider how they may have led to the alienation experienced by many. In the spirit of renewal and in response to the 2018 AEA EVALTALK discussion regarding the need for honest conversation about the field’s history, I address the wicked problems facing the evaluation field—whose ontology and whose epistemology—and present a new framework for conceptualizing evaluation, Ontologically Integrative Evaluation (OIE). Grounding evaluation in three ontological questions—what there is, what is real, and what is fundamental—OIE provides a foundation for an Emergent Interactive Epistemology which honors and incorporates multiple ways of knowing to ensure that the evaluation field’s path forward welcomes all seeking to embark upon the journey.