Hi there! My name is Lindsay Anderson. I am a PhD student at the University of Minnesota studying Organizational Leadership and Policy Development with an emphasis in Evaluation Studies. Having worked in social work before returning to school, I hold a high value on the importance of relationships and the notion that working together leads to better results.
Collaborative evaluations actively engage program stakeholders throughout the evaluation process and include approaches such as participatory (shared control), empowerment (stakeholder control) and collaborative (evaluator control).
Involving stakeholders can result in many benefits to an evaluation including increasing quality, effectiveness, ethical alignment, utility and use. Collaboration may help increase stakeholder understanding of the evaluation purpose, improve data collection and reporting quality, increase access to program resources, further the dissemination of evaluation results and facilitate program change.
Hot Tip: Identify WHO potential stakeholders are.
Stakeholders are anyone with a vested interest in the program and who therefore also have a stake in the evaluation.
- Program participants may provide first-hand experience of the program being evaluated and are the most likely to be impacted by the program and evaluation.
- Partnering organizations and community agencies can provide insight into the context in which the program is embedded.
- Program providers represent multiple perspectives within the organization and build understanding of program activities and outcomes.
- Primary users of the evaluation are instrumental in implementing evaluation findings.
Hot Tip: Decide HOW stakeholders will be involved.
Formal strategies to involve stakeholders in an evaluation can include forming an evaluation advisory group or conducting one-on-one interviews and/or focus groups. An evaluation advisory group consists of stakeholders and evaluators that meet regularly throughout an evaluation to discuss evaluation materials and progress. Interviews or focus groups do not meet with regularity but can be useful in gathering ideas to define and revise evaluation plans.
Hot Tip: Decide WHEN stakeholders will be involved throughout the evaluation.
Stakeholders can be involved throughout the entire evaluation process.
- Clarifying the evaluation plan: stakeholder perspectives provide information about program activities and expected outcomes to ensure the evaluation purpose and design align with program functions.
- Data collection: stakeholders can be engaged to refine data collection strategies to maximize participant response. Evaluation instruments may be designed and validated through consultation with program experts and pre-existing program datasets can be utilized for data collection.
- Data analysis: stakeholders can provide their interpretation of analyses, offering another perspective to triangulate findings and improve the accuracy of results.
- Reporting findings: stakeholders can improve reporting of findings by: providing feedback on the mode in which results will be shared; ensuring reports are user-friendly; and expanding networks so results reach a larger audience.
- Campos-Rodriguez, L. Collaborative evaluation. Tamarac, FL: Lumina Press.
- Campos-Rodriguez, L. (2012). Stakeholder involvement in evaluation: Three decades of the American journal of evaluation. Journal of multidisciplinary evaluation, 8(17), p57-79.
- Greene, J.C. (2005). Stakeholder. In S. Mathison (Ed.), Encyclopedia of evaluation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
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