A Practitioner Handbook on Evaluation

A Practitioner Handbook on Evaluation

Elgar original reference

Edited by Reinhard Stockmann

This comprehensive Handbook serves as an excellent reference manual providing answers to virtually every conceivable question that can arise during the planning and implementation process of an evaluation.

Chapter 6: The Social Context of Evaluation

Tasso Brandt

Subjects: economics and finance, valuation, environment, valuation, politics and public policy, public policy, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, economics of social policy, research methods in social policy, social policy in emerging countries, sociology and sociological theory


Tasso Brandt Evaluations are usually embedded in a social environment in which different groups of people encounter one another, each group having its own different perspectives and interests. This chapter concerns itself with the implications of this for the evaluator. These implications must be taken into account if evaluations are to go as smoothly as possible and the greatest possible benefit is to be obtained from their findings. The aim is to sensitize the reader to potential areas of conflict which can crop up in the course of evaluations. Section 6.1 provides an overview of the social context of evaluations, characterized as it is by various groups of actors (stakeholders), who may influence an evaluation and, at the same time, be influenced by it. Against this backdrop, the relationship between evaluators and stakeholders is of great significance in planning and conducting evaluation projects (see section 6.2). Evaluators can play various different roles in this context, each of which results in different implications for the evaluation process (see section 6.2.1). Regardless of the various possible roles among evaluators and stakeholders, the communication between them is a major influencing factor for the success of an evaluation project. In section 6.2.2 we look at possible interference factors and limitations of evaluations, typical criticisms levelled at evaluations and evaluators, and the question of how to deal with conflicts. The need to interact and communicate with the stakeholders results in high demands being made on evaluators’ social and personal competences which, combined with other areas...

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