Jean A. King

Cultivating Participatory Evaluation (PE) in a World of Centralized Accountability


Buy article


This article begins with a discussion of what people typically mean by participatory evaluation, including brief examples from practice. The next section outlines the sometimes awkward relationship between centralized accountability and PE, followed by a description of how one can cultivate PE in such an environment: (1) developing an affordable version of interactive evaluation practice, (2) purposeful evaluation capacity building, and (3) the deliberate instruction of key decision makers about the potential benefits of PE. Because the field may never agree on a common definition for participatory evaluation, its relationship with centralized accountability may continue to be strained, however, the final section discusses the hope that PE will become more broadly accepted in general evaluation practice.

Participatory Evaluation, Accountability, Interactive Evaluation Practice, Evaluation Capacity Building