Closing the series on participation in evaluation

To end the 4 part blog series on BetterEvaluation, Leslie Groves and Irene Guijt recently gave a live Q&A that focused on questions provided by BetterEvaluation members. The questions covered a range of issues in making evaluation processes more participatory. This blog post offers a recording of the Q&A and also a couple of questions on which Leslie and Irene would like your feedback.

View the blog here.

Leslie Groves and Irene Guijt's picture 10th August 2015 by Leslie Groves and Irene Guijt

On Wednesday, July 29, Leslie Groves and I gave a live Q and A that focused on questions from blog readers. We received so many interesting questions and clearly had too little time for in-depth conversation. Lesson learned for next time – fewer questions to allow time for a more detailed exploration of each.

The questions we received highlight people’s concerns with respect to making evaluation processes more participatory. We had eight different kinds of questions:

  • Meaning and defining - Where should we draw the line and avoid using the word ‘participation’, in contrast with a comprehensive participatory evaluation? See our blog 1 for more insights.
  • Power and politics – How to convince commissioners and how to deal with local elites? See blog 2 and blog 4 on this.
  • Framings and process – Can participation in evaluation be easily combined with framings, such as realist evaluation or gender-responsive approaches? See the recording of the Q&A below.
  • Impact evaluation – Where are the good examples? Stay tuned for emerging work on PIALA (participatory impact assessment and learning) and see thisUNICEF paper
  • Private sector – Is the private sector focus on client feedback really exemplary? See our blog 2 on this and the recording
  • Ethics and confidentiality  - Does participatory work ask for specific attention to these? Yes – see the recording.
  • Participatory evaluation  = better? Only when the conditions are right and it is appropriate. See blogs 1, 2, 3 and 4.
  • Making participation meaningful – Managing trade-offs of values, time and resources. See all our blogs, particularly blog 4.

To round off this series, we have two questions of our own. We would love to receive your thoughts and comments on these.

  1. Does jargon matter? Or are participation (90s), voice (00s) and feedback (10s) simply decade-relevant versions of the same intention?
  2. Is the extent to which our evaluations are participatory ultimately only about our willingness and ability to share power over evaluation decisions?

Please use the comments box on BetterEvaluation to provide your feedback. We will be checking in with these comments over the next weeks.

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Comment by Rituu B Nanda on August 25, 2015 at 20:09

  • Virginia Kamonji

    listening to the series participation in evaluation

Comment by Rituu B Nanda on August 25, 2015 at 7:39
  • Isha Wedasinghe Miranda

    i am listening to the presentations on 4 part blog series on Better Evaluation, Leslie Groves and Irene Guijt recently gave a live Q&A that focused on questions provided by Better Evaluation members.

  • Yesterday
  • Nick Herft

    Hi Isha, that's great! Irene and Leslie have a couple questions for those who have watched the Q&A recording. Find the questions in their blog:

Comment by Jolanda on August 24, 2015 at 22:31

Great work done!  I will definetely explore this for my on going work in undertaking external evaluations for projects and programmes with a gender focus.

Comment by Isha Wedasinghe Miranda on August 24, 2015 at 17:46

Thank you nick sharing this informations. very interesting.

Comment by Rituu B Nanda on August 24, 2015 at 7:49

Hi Nick, we celebrated Evalweek in January and here is what we learned in the participatory evaluation session

Comment by Rituu B Nanda on August 20, 2015 at 11:24

Thanks for taking out time and sharing Nick! Warm greetings.

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