The various paradigms of Evaluation available in Literature possess an inherent potential generate confusion, debate and tension. It also holds the potential of strengthening debate and stretching the limits of the intellectual discourse on this engaging and all-important specialty of development-focused studies.
Among the plethora of approaches in the “science of evaluation” is Empowerment Evaluation which has been selected as the topical focus of this assignment. I intend to critically review this approach by presenting the definitions of the approach, its history, theoretical influences, practical facts on implementing an evaluation study using the Empowerment Evaluation Framework as well as consider some real-life examples of its application to a program as well as review documented intellectual criticisms of the approach.
2.0 Background to Empowerment Evaluation
According to Guba & Lincoln (2001), “Evaluation is one of the three basic forms of disciplined inquiry, the others being research and policy analysis”. The authors equally posit that “it is that form of inquiry whose focus is on the evaluand (program, process, organization, person, etc.) and which results in “merit” and/or “worth” constructions (judgments) about such evaluand” (Guba & Lincoln, 2001).
Among the various known approaches that have been widely discussed in literature is EMPOWERMENT EVALUATION. It has been classified as one of the manifested strands of the Participatory/Empowerment tradition of Evaluation research.(General Principles and Paradigms of Monitoring & Evaluation, 2014)
Empowerment evaluation (EE) is an evaluation approach is designed to help communities monitor and evaluate their own performance. It is used in comprehensive community initiatives as well as small-scale settings and is designed to help groups accomplish their goals. (Wikipedia, 2014). Based on the widely accepted definition of its proponent - David Fetterman - "Empowerment
References: Chelminsky, E. (2007). The coming transformation in Evaluation. In E. Chelminsky & W. Shadish (Eds), Evaluation for the 21st Century: A handbook. Thousand Oaks, CA, Sage publications Czuba, C Fetterman & Wandersman (2007): Empowerment Evaluation: Yesterday, Today and Tommorrow. American Journal of Evaluation 2007: 28;179 Fetterman, D.M Miller RL and Campbell R.(2006): Taking Stock of Empowerment Evaluation: An Empirical Review American Journal of Evaluation 2006 27: 296 Rodríguez-Campos, L Wikipedia (2014): Empowerment evaluation; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empowerment_evaluation. Accessed 12th February, 2014 Zimmermann, M.A