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Eval13 Session 457: "They Just Know": Tensions and Negotiations in the Politics of Evidence-Based Programs 

10-23-2013 16:02

Especially during the last decade, evidence-based programs (EBPs) have become increasingly important in evaluation and related fields, fomenting much debate. Yet many debates are focused either on technical issues around implementation fidelity, or on philosophical critiques of EBPs and the epistemological hierarchies they establish and reify through their relation to randomized controlled trials (RCTs) as "the gold standard." Those discussions are important, yet they often overlook what is actually happening when EBPs are implemented. This paper presents some processes and findings from a qualitative sociological study of the politics of knowledge involved with "intermediary" support of EBP implementation in two contexts (in the U.S. and in Kenya). This study reveals the myriad ways in which EBP implementation support involves difficult negotiations between divergent and clashing epistemologies and ontologies, and as such could inform the work of all who are involved with EBPs.

#evidencebasedprograms #epistemology #Politics

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