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Participatory International Development Evaluation. Edition No. 1
VDM Publishing House, December 2009, Pages: 184
Participatory approaches to evaluation have long been vogue in the international development evaluation community. However, despite their widespread use, there is a dearth of research on the impact of stakeholder participation in international development evaluations. Without systematic scrutiny, it is difficult to repudiate or substantiate any of these claims. This text presents a study that documents current practices and international development evaluators’ perceived consequences of stakeholder participation in development evaluation. The findings suggest that participatory evaluation approaches are interpreted and practiced in widely differing ways. Despite criticisms that participatory evaluation approaches sacrifice objectivity and validity via the inclusion of stakeholders, the results of this study provide evidence that evaluators typically maintain control of the evaluation process. Donor dominance of the evaluation process is another important finding. These findings underscore the importance of clarity and the need for details when discussing participatory evaluation approaches. Implications for evaluation practice and future research are discussed.
Dr. Cullen currently works as Senior Research Associate for The Evaluation Center at Western Michigan University. Her interests include international development administration and evaluation,evaluation practice and capacity building, and participatory methods.