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Critical connections between participatory approaches to evaluation research

Kagan, Carolyn and Suarez, Jose C. and Springett, Jane (2006) Critical connections between participatory approaches to evaluation research. [Conference or Workshop Item] (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The objective of this symposium is to establish some conceptual and operational links between participatory approaches to evaluation research (PAER) principles and organizational change processes. In order to discover some of these critical connections we propose to open a discussion to explore the paradigmatic dimensions of PAER. Essentially, PAER start out from a recognition that evaluation research develops within a pluralistic society and allows evaluation projects to be built upon the ideas, values and aspirations of those taking part at all levels and throughout the whole evaluation process (Diez et al., 2005). In this sense, Gregory (2000) points out how participation allows people to be aware of the rationality behind the evaluation process, and in doing so, increases their involvement in the implementation of an evaluation research project, both in an effective and efficient way. In other words, PAER is a Capacity Building to Evaluation (CBE) strategy. CBE is a context-dependent, organized action system of guided processes and practices for bringing about and sustaining a state of affairs in which quality evaluation and its appropriate uses are ordinary and ongoing practices within and/or between one or more organizations. Evaluation here is understood as a learning process around a social project evaluated from the perspective of all the stakeholders. Therefore, evaluation becomes an exercise stimulating the appearance of an organizational learning (OL) process. The very essence of OL is to adapt to and to take part of organizational change processes.

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