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ERIC Number: EJ792385
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 15
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 25
ISSN: ISSN-1097-6736
Developing Evaluation Capacity through Process Use
King, Jean A.
New Directions for Evaluation, n116 p45-59 Win 2007
This article discusses how to make process use an independent variable in evaluation practice: the purposeful means of building an organization's capacity to conduct and use evaluations in the long run. The goal of evaluation capacity building (ECB) is to strengthen and sustain effective program evaluation practices through a number of activities: (1) increasing an organization's capacity to design, implement, and manage effective evaluation projects; (2) accessing, building, and using evaluative knowledge and skills; (3) cultivating a spirit of continuous organizational learning, improvement, and accountability; and (4) creating awareness and support for evaluation as a performance improvement strategy. ECB is an overarching meta-approach that an evaluator can use with clients regardless of how a study is conducted; that is, it is distinct from specific roles or evaluative approaches. The ECB continuum highlights a number of possibilities for ECB in organizations. At one extreme, evaluators make no attempt to build capacity; they conduct a study as a one-time event, although by participating in the process--one example of process use--people may inadvertently learn evaluation skills. At the other extreme, an organization has purposefully built its evaluation capacity and engages in ongoing evaluative inquiry as a way of life--that is, as part of how it does business. Between these extremes is the topic this article addresses: evaluators' active attempt to build evaluation capacity in a client's organization and intentional structuring of the evaluation process to do so. In framing ECB, it is important to distinguish between process use and process influence. The literature, in recent years, has distinguished between evaluation use, which is direct, and influence, which is indirect. This distinction matters in structuring process use for ECB. In this context, intentionality matters as well; someone must actively want to use the evaluation process to build capacity.But, having made the decision to try, how can an evaluator engage people in activities that build evaluation capacity? The article presents specific suggestions for intentional process use and possible indicators, and it then offers brief examples--first positive, then negative--of organizations where staff and administrators purposefully set about building their internal capacity to think evaluatively. (Contains 1 table.)
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 - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A