I’m Wayne Miller, senior lecturer in the School of Education at Avondale College of Higher Education at Lake Macquarie, New South Wales, where I have worked in teacher education for 25 years. In 2005 I stumbled on empowerment evaluation when reading the ‘vision for the new millennium’ Claremont papers (Donaldson & Scriven, 2003). I then went on to use the three-step approach (Fetterman and Wandersman, 2005) to test the proposition of my study that empowerment evaluation would provide a practical method to evaluate a national school breakfast program in Australia.
Rad Resource – David Fetterman on Empowerment Evaluation – March 2011 on aea365.
This was a great blog post where the most radical resource this side of the black stump (ask an Aussie!) provided links to an array of excellent web and print resources to assist those who use Collaborative, Participatory and Empowerment (CPE) approaches to evaluation.
Rad Resource – Brad Cousin on Thought Leaders Forum: I also enjoyed the recent AEA Thought Leaders Forum hosted by Brad Cousins. Mention was made of Brad’s chapter in Fetterman and Wandersman’s (2005) book Empowerment evaluation principles in practice titled Will the real empowerment evaluation please stand up. Cousins’ used a mapping process with five empowerment evaluation case studies reported in the same book. He used a radargram aka a clothes line to place (hang) each evaluation along five dimensions scored on a scale of 1-5. The dimensions he used were, 1) control over the evaluation, 2) the diversity of actors involved in the evaluation, 3) the dispersion of power in the evaluation team, 4) the manageability of the evaluation, and 5) the depth of stakeholder participation.
Rad Resource – Wayne Miller Doctoral Thesis: In my study I mapped (hung out some dirty laundry with the clean) the application of empowerment evaluation along these five dimensions. This is what the laundry looked like flapping in the Miller backyard breeze.
- Control over Technical Decision Making: Evaluator  vs. Program personnel  rated 4.
- Diversity: Limited  vs. Diverse  rated 4.
- Power relations: Neutral  vs. Conflicting  rated 3.
- Manageability: Manageable  vs. Unwieldy  rated 3.
- Depth of participation by stakeholders: Involved as a source for consultation  vs. Involved in all aspects of inquiry  rated.
Lesson Learned: Reflecting some three years later on the way my laundry looked at the end of the project here is my lesson learnt:
Sort my laundry at the beginning of the wash not at the end. Be clear and intentional about the application of the evaluation dimensions inherent in the chosen approach.
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.