Dialogue in Evaluation: A Hermeneutic Perspective

Guy A M Widdershoven*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Dialogue is crucial to evaluation. Through dialogue, people are invited to develop new, shared ways of seeing and acting. From a hermeneutic perspective, dialogue implies consensus, based upon shared meanings and oriented towards reaching agreement. Dialogue also implies disagreement, in the form of a conflict between different, rival stories. The role of the evaluator is to enter into dialogue with people participating in practice. It is also to stimulate a dialogue between participants. This requires support for marginalized voices, but also attention to the voices of those who are in power. Only if the evaluator tries to understand the values endorsed in a practice and is prepared to listen to the stories of all parties involved, can evaluation become a practice to which all participants contribute.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-263
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2001

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