CPE Week Bonus: Abraham Wandersman on Empowerment Accountability

I am Abraham Wandersman, past-president of the American Psychological Association Division 27 – Community Psychology.  I am also  a professor of psychology at the University of South Carolina at Columbia.

I have worked with David Fetterman and a long list of students and colleagues over the years on empowerment evaluation issues, articles, and books for almost 2 decades.  Without duplicating what’s in David’s AEA365 tips page this week, I would like to share a few tips, tools, and resources with you based my colleagues’ experience.

We have worked to demystify evaluation and accountability.  Communities and organizations that are implementing programs are increasingly being required by funders to evaluate their outcomes, yet are often not provided the guidance or the tools needed to successfully meet this challenge. The GTO® manual of text and tools published by the RAND Corporation, Getting to Outcomes 2004: Promoting Accountability Through Methods and Tools for Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation (Chinman, Imm, & Wandersman, 2004; winner of the 2008 Outstanding Publication award from AEA) is designed to provide the necessary guidance in order to build capacity for the implementation and evaluation of high quality prevention. Incorporating traditional evaluation, empowerment evaluation, results-based accountability, and continuous quality improvement, this manual’s ten-step approach enhances practitioners’ prevention skills while empowering them to plan, implement, and evaluate their own programs.

Rad Resource: Evaluation Improvement: A Seven-step Empowerment Evaluation Approach. (A guide to hiring empowerment evaluators)

Rad Resource: Getting to Outcomes: 10 Steps for Achieving Results-Based Accountability

Rad Resource:

Fetterman, D.M. and Wandersman, A. (2007).  Empowerment evaluation:  yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  American Journal of Evaluation, 28(2):179-198.

This is the third most read American Journal of Evaluation article in November 2010.  The article summarizes many of the arguments and responses revolving around empowerment evaluation.  It has been widely cited as an excellent summary of empowerment evaluation issues, critiques, responses, resolutions, and plans for the future.  This article “is designed to enhance conceptual clarity, provide greater methodological specificity, and highlight empowerment evaluation’s commitment to accountability and producing outcomes.”

Rad Resources:

Fetterman, D.M. and Wandersman, A. (2005).  Empowerment evaluation principles in practice. New York:  Guilford Publications.

Fetterman, D.M. (2001).  Foundations of Empowerment Evaluation.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Fetterman, D.M., Kaftarian, S., and Wandersman, A. (1996).  Empowerment evaluation:  knowledge and tools for self-evaluation and accountability. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Collaborative, Participatory & Empowerment Evaluation (CPE) Week with our colleagues in the CPE AEA Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our CPE members and you may wish to consider subscribing to our weekly headlines and resources list where we’ll be highlighting CPE resources. 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.

2 thoughts on “CPE Week Bonus: Abraham Wandersman on Empowerment Accountability”

  1. Nice job Abe!

    As you know I agree 100% with you that we must continue to “demystify evaluation and accountability.” Once it catches on – it catches on life wildfire – it changes peoples’ lives.

    I noticed Moein’s post as well. Thanks Moein. I think right now we are focusing on things like:

    1. process use (the more that people conduct their own evaluation the more they are likely to use the findings and recommendations – because they are credible – they are theirs)

    2. capacity building – the tools and techniques that have been helpful over the years in helping build evaluation capacity (including using webinars – which we will discuss in some detail at the annual meetings).

    I could go on – Abe and I have been working on a number of ideas and practical tools to enhance the process – keep posted. Take care Abe and Moein and best wishes.


  2. Dear Professor Wandersman,
    Salaam, yes you are truthful. I am indebted from empowerment evaluation literature that more marked by you and Professor Fetterman.
    Especially I know you are more worked and solve many theoretic and practical problems in EE activities than say more things about these.
    Thank you all empowerment evaluators and empowerment evaluation critics!

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