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Wednesday, September 19 • 1:30pm - 2:00pm
Theories on and of: A systematic analysis of evaluation's domains of knowledge

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Ghislain Arbour (Centre for Program Evaluation)

The evaluation discipline deals with a diverse body of knowledge. Some theories, concepts and other models are about investigating the value of things, and some are about how evaluation partners engage in the evaluation process. Others are about how people should conduct evaluations, and we also have ideas about how we communicate the results from such evaluations. We even developed theories about events that happen after the evaluation is done, concerning decision-making and other types of use.

But what is evaluation knowledge, really? What defines it? What delineates it from other disciplines? What is the role of other disciplines in developing evaluation knowledge? Can all contributions relevant for evaluation qualify as evaluative knowledge?

This paper is an attempt at answering the aforementioned questions. In so doing, it proposes a systematic framework to organise the various evaluation's domains of knowledge. The framework is driven by a fundamental distinction between theories on evaluation and theories of evaluation. The former are the theories and concepts from various disciplines that are applied to the social object of evaluation to explain, among others, the administrative, political and sociological nature of evaluation. The latter are the theories and concepts that explain the determination of value.

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Ghislain Arbour

Senior Lecturer, The University of Melbourne
Ghislain Arbour is a Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Program Evaluation at the University of Melbourne in Australia. | He has a hard time not talking about terminology in evaluation (see what happens if you ask about his dictionary project), the nature of evaluation theory and models... Read More →


Wednesday September 19, 2018 1:30pm - 2:00pm
Chancellor 4 Hotel Grand Chancellor Launceston

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