The practice and politics of responsive evaluation

Tineke A. Abma*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Responsive evaluation offers a perspective in which evaluation is reframed from the assessment of program interventions on the basis of policy makers' goals to an engagement with and among all stakeholders about the value and meaning of their practice. Responsive evaluators have to be extra sensitive to power relations given the deliberate attempts to acknowledge ambiguity and the plurality of interests and values and to foster genuine dialogue. The author illustrates the practice and politics of responsive evaluation with case examples from two policy fields, arts education and mental health care. In these evaluation studies, process-oriented heuristics have been developed to deal with the unequal social relations and power in responsive evaluation. As such, responsive evaluation offers an interesting example of the politics of evaluation. The emerging heuristics may be helpful to other evaluation approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-43
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Evaluation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2006

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