Dr Paul Duignan's award winning conference paper
Mainstreaming Evaluation or Building Evaluation Capability? Three Key Elements
This paper by Paul Duignan* won the American Evaluation Association (AEA) 2001 President’s Prize
In this paper the nature of the problem which ‘mainstreaming evaluation’ is trying to solve is critically examined. Mainstreaming should not just be seen as making the evaluation profession more prominent. Evaluators may have to consider ‘giving evaluation away’ as they encourage people in programs, organizations and policy development to be more evaluative in their day to day work regardless of whether this is called ‘evaluation’. ‘Building evaluation capability’ rather than ‘mainstreaming’ is proposed as a less ambiguous term. Fifteen years of New Zealand public and community health sector experience in building evaluation capability is drawn on and three key elements for such capability building are identified: appropriate evaluation models; training in evaluation skills at all levels; and organizational or sector level prioritization of evaluation questions. Each of these is described and a set of questions for further discussion of mainstreaming at the AEA 2001 Conference is proposed.