AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators



CPE Week: David Fetterman on Empowerment Evaluation: From Ignite Lectures to Wikipedia Postings

Welcome to the CP&E TIG sponsored week of tips and rad resources.

I am David Fetterman, past-president of the American Evaluation Association and co-chair of the Collaborative, Participatory and Empowerment Evaluation TIG. I have 25 years of experience at Stanford University. I am the President & CEO of Fetterman & Associates, an international evaluation consulting firm. Concurrently I am a member of the faculty in the School of Education at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and co-Director of the Arkansas Evaluation Center.

Hot Tip – Let go. In empowerment evaluation it is important to learn how to let go without abdicating your responsibility. Encourage folks to take the lead but follow closely behind to make sure things get done, to help when help is needed, to facilitate and guide but not control.

Rad Resources

Ignite Lecture. Ignite lectures are 5 minutes and 20 slides. It is a wonderful way to help you refine your message and communicate more effectively. Example


Online Debate. Debating your views with critical friends is another way to crystallize your thinking and your message. See: Fetterman, Patton, and Scriven Debate: Promises and Pitfalls of Empowerment Evaluation

Wikipedia: Empowerment Evaluation

Web Page: Empowerment Evaluation Web Page

Blog: Empowerment Evaluation Blog


Chinman, Hunter, Ebener, Paddock, Stillman, Imm, Wandersman’s article: The Getting to Outcomes Demonstration and Evaluation: An Illustration of the Prevention Support System in the American Journal of Psychology, (2008). [41:206-224]. Abstract

José M. Díaz-Puente, Adolfo Cazorla Montero, and Ignacio de los Ríos Carmenado’s article: Empowering communities through evaluation: some lessons from rural Spain. Community Development Journal [2009, 44(1): 53-67]. Abstract

Fetterman, Deitz, and Gesundheit’s medical education article: Empowerment evaluation: a collaborative approach to evaluating and transforming a medical school curriculum in Academic Medicine [85(5):813-820]. It is a case example of how empowerment evaluation was applied to the Stanford University School of Medicine. Full Article

Fetterman, and Wandersman’s popular article: “Empowerment evaluation: yesterday, today, and tomorrow” in the American Journal of Evaluation [28(2):179-198]. This article “is designed to enhance conceptual clarity, provide greater methodological specificity, and highlight empowerment evaluation’s commitment to accountability and producing outcomes.” Abstract

Miller, and Lennie’s article: Empowerment Evaluation: A Practical Method for Evaluating a National School Breakfast Program in the Evaluation Journal of Australasia, 2005. [5(2), 18-26]. Full Article

Recent Chapter:

Fetterman’s chapter – Empowerment Evaluation: Learning to Think Like an Evaluator. In Alkin, M. (ed.) Evaluation Roots: A Wider Perspective of Theorists’ Views and Influences, 2012.

Forthcoming Book:

Fetterman, D.M.’s Empowerment Evaluation in the Digital Villages: Hewlett Packard’s $15 Million Race Toward Social Justice. Stanford University Press.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating CPE week with our colleagues in the Collaborative, Participatory, and Empowerment TIG. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our CPE TIG Colleagues. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice.

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  • Kathryn · June 7, 2012 at 4:07 am

    As a learner of evaluation processes, I have started with empowerment evaluation. I anticipate as you have stated an ease of use and an increase in knowledge as I become more familiar with it. Inclusion of stakeholders was my big draw to this framework as I am very interested in interprofessional collaboration.
    As a Nurse Manager in a Long Term Care Facility in Halifax Nova Scotia it can be difficult without mentors in close proximity.

    Do you have any helpful hints to give a beginner?



  • Linda Delaney · June 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    I have had the opportunity to witness you teaching the principles of empowerment evaluation and applying the concepts. Grantees at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff have learned a lot from your trainings and have become quite adept at applying empowerment evaluation concepts to their own programs. Thank you for sharing this – as always simple and practical applications that can be understood by anyone.


    • David Fetterman · June 5, 2012 at 12:38 am

      DF: Thanks Linda for the kind comments.

      What I like about the process is that everyone can do it to some level and folks get better and better at it like most things – the more they practice it.

      Take care and best wishes.



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