Reflections on the Meaning of Success in Collaborative Approaches to Evaluation: Results of an Empirical Study
How do evaluators using collaborative approaches to evaluation (CAE) define success? This is the core question being asked in a further analysis of data from our previous work (Cousins, Whitmore, & Shulha, 2013 ; Shulha et al., 2016) that developed a set of evidence-based principles to guide collaborative evaluation practice. Probing data from 320 responses to our (2012) survey, we examined what respondents considered "highly successful" and "less successful than hoped" in their collaborative evaluation projects.
Through a guided discussion, this article explores a five-year cross-cultural evaluation relationship comprising multiple projects involving an evaluator from Canada and a group of Indian colleagues working on educational reform in India. The initiative was funded through a multilateral consortium of donors and involved Western evaluation specialists working in collaboration with Indian colleagues to (a) develop evaluation capacity within the country and (b) produce evaluative knowledge about education quality initiatives associated with large-scale educational reform.