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ERIC Number: EJ792384
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 18
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 31
ISSN: ISSN-1097-6736
Evaluators' Descriptions of Process Use: An Exploratory Study
Harnar, Michael A.; Preskill, Hallie
New Directions for Evaluation, n116 p27-44 Win 2007
In "Utilization Focused Evaluation" (1997), Patton introduced the term "process use" to describe changes in thinking and behavior, whether at the individual, program, or organizational level, as a result of one's participation in an evaluation, irrespective of the evaluation results. In conversations with stakeholders, Patton found that although stakeholders changed how they did their work after an evaluation was completed, they did not attribute these changes directly to the evaluation results. Rather, they credited the changes to their experience with the evaluation. The idea that stakeholders are affected by their participation in an evaluation is not new. Since 1997 an increasing number of studies have focused on and used the term "process use." That is, researchers have looked specifically at how and what stakeholders learn from their involvement in the evaluation process. Though each of these studies included its own population, used a variety of research designs and methods, and operationalized the construct of process use in its own way, they all concluded that stakeholders learned something from their engagement in the evaluation process. This learning was at the individual, group, or organization level, and was related to development of new knowledge, attitudes, or behaviors. Interest in what stakeholders learn from their engagement in an evaluation may be a result of the convergence of several events and trends in the evaluation field. Though the term "process use" is now ten years old, the authors have sensed that the construct may not be fully understood or known by many evaluation practitioners. Thus, this article describes the results of an exploratory study that sought to understand what U.S. American Evaluation Association members think process use looks like. (Contains 4 tables.)
Jossey Bass. Available from John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774. Tel: 800-825-7550; Tel: 201-748-6645; Fax: 201-748-6021; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A