Role sharing between stakeholders and evaluators by Sarah McKay

In my practice we are increasingly undertaking evaluations in which more of the evaluative activities are shared between the evaluator and stakeholders. The move towards Developmental Evaluation has influenced this, as it is a more flexible approach that includes key stakeholders throughout the evaluation such as involving them in choosing methods and co-analysis of data. A key aim is to generate data that can used by stakeholders to adapt a new or innovative programme as it unfolds. These new roles in evaluation may require us to build on our existing skillsets and processes and to develop new ones. I found this article helpful in considering this. In my own practice I reflected on the need for evaluators in partnership with stakeholders to:

 

  • establish and maintain clear communication processes and ongoing trust with stakeholders
  • develop innovative methods which may challenge traditional methodological assumptions
  • work to ensure that stakeholders understand the process so they can meaningfully participate and recognize that this may take time
  • realistically consider how many stakeholders to include and in what ways participation takes place regarding the scope of the project and resource constraints
  • think carefully about how key ethical issues are iterated in each context, i.e. confidentiality
  • consider how language can create barriers to participation: evaluation can be ‘jargon heavy’
  • consider other barriers to participation for various stakeholders
  • be careful of shared assumptions: are we really on the same page? Do key partners have the same understanding and expectations of what we are doing and why? How do we communicate development in the project over time, to everyone involved?

 

Role Sharing Between Stakeholders and Evaluators - America Journal of Evaluation