Two alternative Copernican revolutions for evaluation

Michael Scriven, during his time as our guest blogger, suggested it was time for a Copernican revolution in evaluation. Now that I have returned from three weeks on the road, I’d like to suggest two different revolutions that might be needed. In both cases I am taking literally the notion of what is considered the center around which the other elements revolve.

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Postscript from Michael Scriven on rethinking evaluation

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To you all: many thanks for putting up with a few Northern thoughts (from an ex-Southerner) for ten days or so, and for the stimulus provided by your comments. Some of you might be interested in this postscript.

I had the chance to make the ‘Three Copernican revolutions’ pitch in a talk at the

Read the whole post –> Postscript from Michael Scriven on rethinking evaluation

Rethinking “who’s worth listening to” – and how we listen to each other – in evaluation

In the previous discussion about evaluation’s intellectual silos, Jara Dean-Coffey suggested that there were generational differences within the U.S. evaluation community with respect to the “specialist culture” that has dominated the evaluation scene to date, and wondered whether this might also be true elsewhere. Jara’s reflections reminded me of something else I have observed and puzzled over: Are there forces working against the recognition of the newer, silo-spanning generation of evaluators? Are those forces counterproductive for advancing the discipline? What’s the cultural lens on all this? And what are the lessons here for rethinking who we listen to in the evaluation community and how we listen?

Read the whole post –> Rethinking “who’s worth listening to” – and how we listen to each other – in evaluation

Rethinking evaluation’s intellectual silos

Michael Scriven has had us working our gray matter harder than usual this week trying to come up with a new ‘Copernican’ revolution for evaluation. The ensuing discussion has covered, among other things, the point that certain [‘Northern’ and especially ‘North American’] views of the world (and their accompanying assumptions, methodologies) have, historically, been treated as ‘the default’. Let’s try for a very southern hemisphere-flavored candidate for rethinking evaluation globally – the realization that the various different evaluation theories, approaches, models, and methodologies are not in fact ideologies to which one swears lifelong allegiance. Rather, some of the best genuine evaluations are the ones that ‘sample across the silos’ and combine approaches that were heretofore thought to be incompatible

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Rethinking evaluation: Explicitly evaluative and culturally inclusive approaches

I’m not sure I can come up with a ‘Copernican’ revolution of the scale Michael Scriven described in his previous post, but perhaps I can run an idea up the flagpole that has came as a realization or light-bulb moment for me and still seems to surprise and sometimes amaze other people I talk to and work with … There is a long-held belief that evaluations that draw explicitly evaluative conclusions are somehow diametrically opposed to or completely incompatible with culturally responsive evaluations that fully reflect and respect the cultural values and worldviews of indigenous peoples and others whose voices are often not heard.

Read the whole post –> Rethinking evaluation: Explicitly evaluative and culturally inclusive approaches