Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Evaluation Use and Evaluator Competencies in Low-Income Countries: A Three Article Dissertation
by Emerson, Rosie Osire, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Lowell, 2020, 155; 27671557
Abstract (Summary)

This study was driven by one central question: What can evaluators do to promote utilization of international development evaluations? This research question is addressed through three distinct yet interrelated articles. The first article explores how power is configured and distributed among key stakeholders and how power imbalances impact evaluations. The second article discusses evaluators’ and evaluands’ perceptions of the nature and causes of evaluation use in international development evaluations. The third article focuses on the effect of evaluator intercultural competence on evaluation use in international development evaluations.

The study utilized a sequential, mixed-methods design. During the first phase of research, qualitative interviews were conducted with evaluators and evaluands of the Girls Education Challenge (GEC) program, a multi-million-dollar program that supported 37 education projects in 18 countries in Africa and South Asia. The findings from the qualitative study informed the design of a quantitative survey, which was administered to evaluators with experience conducting international development evaluations.

The first article concluded that donors wield a lot of power over the evaluation process and outcomes. At best, they can help to increase the quality and utilization of evaluations. At worst, they can hinder culturally responsive evaluation practices. The second article concluded that though symbolic or legitimizing uses of evaluation are prevalent, evaluations are also used conceptually (to increase understanding about a program) and instrumentally (to make decisions/changes to a program). The main factor influencing evaluation use is evaluation characteristics, which includes communication quality, findings, evaluation quality, evaluator credibility, and evaluator competence. The third article concluded that technical evaluation skills and interpersonal skills are significantly associated with evaluation use. Cultural encounter, experience conducting evaluations in low-income countries, and evaluation knowledge were found to be important predictors of evaluator intercultural competence. As a whole, the major implication of this study is that equity needs to be considered in evaluation; avenues need to be created for less powerful stakeholders to speak truth to power and international evaluators need to partner closely with local researchers to ensure that the evaluation is culturally responsive.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lohmeier, Jill H.
Commitee: Davidson, Judith, Hsu, Hsien-Yuan
School: University of Massachusetts Lowell
Department: Education Administration
School Location: United States -- Massachusetts
Source: DAI-A 81/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational evaluation
Keywords: Culturally responsive evaluation, Evaluation use, Evaluator competencies, International development Evaluation, Program evaluation
Publication Number: 27671557
ISBN: 9798645465230
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