Fundamental Issues

The Evaluation Use TIG takes the following issues as fundamental to the evaluation profession:

Theory of Use/Influence. What is the nature of “use” itself? Theories of influence or use (language varies) focus on the nature of influence/use as a construct, on types of use/misuse, and on causal pathways of influence.

Use and the Public Good. What is evaluation’s impact on social justice and other expressions of social betterment? This question merges into ethics and values discussions and the examination of whose interests are addressed in different models of use.

Evaluator Role in Facilitating Use. What is the necessary and appropriate role of the evaluator in facilitating use? What is the nature of influence that is appropriate to that role? The answers to these questions differ across evaluation models.

Validity and Use. How can the consequences of evaluative understandings and actions offer evidence of an evaluation’s validity? Since validity has long been understood to reside in the use of an instrument or method, the focus on use merges into fundamental discussions of validity in evaluation.

Metaevaluation. Is the empirical study of use essentially evaluating the evaluation(s)? Whether use/influence is an intended or unintended outcome of evaluation, studying the scope of influence of a given evaluation and factors facilitating use moves into metaevaluation.