In our experience, it is still common to see ‘evaluations’ whose conclusions are simply non-evaluative descriptions of changes resulting from an intervention. There’s nothing explicit about, for example, the quality of the service provided, the value of the outcomes, the relative importance of various components, or what it all adds up to as an investment of resources. As a result, clients or audiences or stakeholders for the evaluation or the evaluand are frequently frustrated, feeling the most important questions have remained unanswered.
Why do we still not, as a profession, bite the evaluative bullet? Three possible reasons:
(1) Evaluation anxiety: avoiding the war zone.
(2) A residual feeling that it’s ‘more scientific’ to do value-free social science; or
(3) a lack of understanding and skill about the ‘how to’ of drawing evaluative conclusions.
We illustrate the concepts with a large-scale applied example that shows how implementation of this explicitly evaluative approach to both self-review and external evaluation has helped not only improve the value of evaluation, but also build evaluative thinking in the organizations that use it. #TheoriesofEvaluation #EvaluativeThinking #psychologyofevaluation #OrganizationalLearningandEvalCapacityBuilding #evaluationanxiety #evaluationspecificmethodology #2012Conference #MixedMethodsEvaluation #HowTo