Reviews

Practicing evaluation: a collaborative approach

This book is based on the author ’s experience of undertaking evaluation across a variety of places and programmes, motivated by a desire to contribute to ‘social service’ programmes. The author promotes an approach called collaborative evaluation, which has similarities with participatory and empowerment evaluation. However, she suggests that this book demonstrates some ‘novel variations’ which should cause experienced evaluators to ‘reflect on their practice ad the reasons they proceed in the manner they do’.

In addition, she claims the book will be ‘exceptionally useful’ for programme personnel ‘who must engage and work with the evaluators and who want to expand their understanding of what evaluation is and how it can help improve their programme’.

As an experienced evaluator, I am not convinced that the content of the book is particularly ‘novel’, but anything that stimulates reflection on practice and process is to be applauded. Further, as a programme developer, the increasing of understanding about the role and conduct of evaluation is laudable, albeit that may of the examples are drawn from north American systems and the cultural differences are evident.

Nevertheless, the book does point out that although many evaluation textbooks include the theory and steps of an evaluation, they do not include the specifics regarding how to put these concepts into practice in a real world setting of a school or business. As

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In addition, she claims the book will be ‘exceptionally useful’ for programme personnel ‘who must engage and work with the evaluators and who want to expand their understanding of what evaluation is and how it can help improve their programme’.

As an experienced evaluator, I am not convinced that the content of the book is particularly ‘novel’, but anything that stimulates reflection on practice and process is to be applauded. Further, as a programme developer, the increasing of understanding about the role and conduct of evaluation is laudable, albeit that may of the examples are drawn from north American systems and the cultural differences are evident.

Nevertheless, the book does point out that although many evaluation textbooks include the theory and steps of an evaluation, they do not include the specifics regarding how to put these concepts into practice in a real world setting of a school or business. As such, this book is different by giving actual cases from education, health and business as well as showing readers how to better involve stakeholders in the evaluation process.

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