Objectives: In this exploratory study, we wanted to know how evaluators differentiate collaborative approaches to evaluation (CAE) perceived to be successful from those perceived to be less-than-successful. Method: In an online questionnaire survey, we obtained 320 responses from evaluators who practice CAE (i.e., evaluations on which program stakeholders coproduce evaluation knowledge). Respondents identified two specific CAE projects from their own experience—one they believed to be “highly successful” and another they considered “far less successful than [they] had hoped.”—and offered their comments and reflections about them. They rated the respective evaluations on 5-point opinion and frequency scales about (i) antecedent stakeholder perspectives, (ii) the purposes and justifications for collaborative inquiry, and (iii) the form such inquiry takes. Findings: The results showed that successful evaluations, relative to their less-than-successful counterparts, tended to reflect higher levels of agreement among stakeholders about the focal program; higher intentionality estimates of evaluation justification and espoused purposes; and wider ranges and deeper levels of stakeholder participation. No differences were found for control of technical decision-making, and evaluators tended to lead evaluation decision making, regardless of success condition. Discussion: The results are discussed in terms of implications for ongoing research on CAE.

Additional Metadata
Keywords collaboration, evaluation contexts, evaluation purposes and processes, stakeholder participation
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1177/0193841X16637950
Journal Evaluation Review
Cousins, J.B. (J. Bradley), Shulha, L.M. (Lyn M.), Whitmore, E, Hudib, H.A. (Hind Al), & Gilbert, N. (Nathalie). (2016). How Do Evaluators Differentiate Successful From Less-Than-Successful Experiences With Collaborative Approaches to Evaluation?. Evaluation Review, 40(1), 3–28. doi:10.1177/0193841X16637950