Abstract

This article discusses the importance of social relations in evaluation. It focuses first on social relations among stakeholders in the evaluation setting. It is argued that social relations are crucial as an object of study, since they are integral to and partly constitutive of the quality and effectiveness of the programme being evaluated. Next, it focuses on the social relations between the evaluator and the stakeholders in the programme. Several positions concerning the evaluator-stakeholder relationship are identified and related to evaluative traditions and underlying normative frameworks. It is argued that evaluation is inherently and inevitably a social practice. Evaluators should therefore not only attend to the social relations as an object of study, but also be aware of the normative dimensions and implications of their practice, and accompanying relational responsibilities. Acknowledgement of the normative dimensions of evaluation as social relation creates room for new, joint ways of learning between evaluators and stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEvaluation
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2008

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