Evaluation 2018: Speaking Truth to Power

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Exploring the Dynamics of Truth and Power in Internal and External Evaluations

Session Number: 2122
Track: Internal Evaluation
Session Type: Roundtable
Tags: collaborative evaluation, Evaluator - Client Relationships, external evaluation, internal evaluation
Session Facilitator: Judy Lee [Independent Consultant]
First Author or Discussion Group Leader: Gabriela Liseth Garcia, PhD [Research Associate II - Education Development Center]
Second Author or Discussion Group Leader: Carrie Liston [Research Associate - Education Development Center]
Third Author or Discussion Group Leader: Sara Larsan Greller [Research Associate - Education Development Center]
Time: Nov 01, 2018 (11:30 AM - 12:15 PM)
Room: CC - 19

Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract (150 words): 

The distinctions between external and internal evaluators are often clear. However, in large organizations with complicated lines of authority, the responsibilities of external and internal evaluators can be easily blurred. Challenges also arise when evaluators work collaboratively with project staff to design responsive evaluations that produce user-focused findings. Additionally, evaluators are expected to be impartial, and, according to AEA’s Guiding Principles for Evaluators, “display honesty and integrity in their own behavior and attempt to ensure the honesty and integrity of the entire evaluation process.” Yet, how does power influence these principles in external evaluators who also serve an internal role? What is ‘truth,’ and how can it be discovered and addressed when boundaries distort the role of evaluators? Discussion leaders will draw on their experiences of conducting internal and external evaluations for foundation- and federally-funded centers to explore with participants dynamics of truth and power in internal and external evaluations.

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