Developmental Evaluation: The Experience and Reflections of Early Adopters
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The term developmental evaluation first entered in the literature in 1994 when Michael Quinn Patton used the phrase in an article exploring the relationship between evaluation and organizational development. Since then, he has developed the concept further and documented his evolution of thinking in a variety of articles, books and presentations. While Patton has been systematic in disseminating his emerging account of developmental evaluation, there is very little research on how other evaluators understand the concept nor an account of their experiences using the approach in real-life settings. This thesis documents the experience and reflections of eighteen evaluators who have employed developmental evaluation in their own work. The results suggest that practitioners understand the intent and key features of the approach though have a variety of questions about its conception and encountered a number of practical challenges in its implementation. The thesis also describes a number of recommendations for strengthening the theory and practice of developmental evaluation.