Evaluation theories can be tested in various ways. One approach, the experimental analogue study, is described and illustrated in this article. The approach is presented as a method worthy to use in the pursuit of what Alkin and others have called descriptive evaluation theory. Drawing on analogue studies conducted by the first author, we illustrate the potential benefits and limitations of analogue experiments for studying aspects of evaluation and for contributing to the development and refinement of evaluation theory. Specifically, we describe the results of two studies that examined stakeholder dialogue under different conditions of accountability frame, interpersonal motives, and epistemic motives. We present the studies’ main findings while highlighting the potential for analogue studies to investigate questions of interest concerning evaluation practice and theory. Potentials and pitfalls of the analogue study approach are discussed.

Additional Metadata
Keywords analogue research, evaluation theory, research on evaluation, stakeholder dialogue
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1177/1098214014532166
Journal American Journal of Evaluation
Campbell, B, & Mark, M.M. (Melvin M.). (2015). How Analogue Research Can Advance Descriptive Evaluation Theory: Understanding (and Improving) Stakeholder Dialogue. American Journal of Evaluation, 36(2), 204–220. doi:10.1177/1098214014532166