Lecture 6: Participatory Evaluation
• Participatory evaluation
• Foundations in Participatory research
What this is
How it is done
• Participatory evaluation in practice
• Case study
• Exercise (maybe)
• A different approach to evaluation
Builds from participatory research and participatory action research, both which are popular in
• Rooted in a different idea of the role of evaluation
Participation of those affected by program can create knowledge, empowerment and ultimately
improve their situation
Foundation in Participatory research
• The aim is to have generation of knowledge through the process itself
• Process as important as the end
• Aims are to explain and predict
• Diff flavours of positivism, but grounded in idea that empirical world only understandable through
observation and experimentation
• Mostly deductive, theory testing • Assumed subject/ object, research, researched distinction
• Which policy theory does this appear to inform?
• More rational actor model, basis of how we think about policy is very much apparent in this
approach to policy
Implications of positivism
• What are the implications of a positivist frame of reference for evaluation?
• Consequences of kinds of knowledge that may not be readily integrated in that approach?
Social policy that requires large amounts of society to change over time= hard to measure in short
Makes certain expertise more valuable/ influential
Directs our attention to what is measurable rather than toward what is important
• Understanding of properties of an objective world in order to be able to control it
Product of natural science perspective
• Critiqued from social science perspective because people gain knowledge through action and
Once a social theory exists, it transforms the subjects such that they are no longer the same
(problem of temporal validity)
• Instrumental knowledge cannot answer the values question
Challenge of going from “what is” to “what one ought to do”
Climate Change example
• If we accept that the emission of anthropogenic greenhouse gases are driving changes in the
What does this mean for policy?
Does this tell us what our goal should be?
Does it tell us how and whether we should solve the problem?
Types of Knowledge • Interactive knowledge: Derives from interaction with others
• Critical knowledge: Understanding/ awareness of the structural cause of chall