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Four Waves of Evaluation
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute for Housing and Urban Research.
2010 (English)In: Evaluation, ISSN 1356-3890, E-ISSN 1461-7153, Vol. 16, no 3, 263-277 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article investigates the dissemination of evaluation as it appears from a Swedish and to a lesser extent an Atlantic vantage point since 1960. Four waves have deposited sediments, which form present-day evaluative activities. The scientific wave entailed that academics should test, through two-group experimentation, appropriate means to reach externally set, admittedly subjective, goals. Public decision-makers were then supposed to roll out the most effective means. Faith in scientific evaluation eroded in the early 1970s. It has since been argued that evaluation should be participatory and non-experimental, with information being elicited from users, operators, managers and other stakeholders through discussions. In this way, the dialogue-oriented wave entered the scene. Then the neo-liberal wave from around 1980 pushed for market orientation. Deregulation, privatization, contracting-out, efficiency and customer influence became key phrases. Evaluation as accountability, value for money and customer satisfaction was recommended. Under the slogan ‘What matters is what works’ the evidence-based wave implies a renaissance for scientific experimentation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 16, no 3, 263-277 p.
Keyword [en]
dialogue-oriented evaluation, diffusion of evaluation, evidence-based evaluation, neo-liberal evaluation, science-driven evaluation
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-131093DOI: 10.1177/1356389010372452OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-131093DiVA: diva2:352758
Available from: 2010-09-22 Created: 2010-09-22 Last updated: 2010-09-23Bibliographically approved

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Vedung, Evert
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