How participatory was that evaluation?

Some time ago I became concerned that “participatory evaluation” was being used to refer to vastly different evaluation approaches. One evaluation report called a participatory evaluation merely surveyed a sample of people, but there was no engagement by the evaluator with anyone about any aspect of the evaluation process. Apparently simply responding to a questionnaire was considered participation.

Other evaluation reports varied widely in the extent to which the evaluator engaged with others in designing and implementing an evaluation. I prepared a simple tool for rating the extent to which an evaluator engaged others while carrying out the evaluation. The tool is attached below. I welcome comments on the usefulness of the tool and other ways of determining the extent to which an evaluation can meaningfully be called a participatory evaluation.

Tool Assessment of Strength of Participation in an Evaluation

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