Miri Levin-Rozalis

Spring

Profesional identity of evaluators in Israel

Authors:
Pages:
141-177

Professional identity is a precondition for the establishment of a profession. This examines the professional identity of program evaluators in Israel. The field of evaluation in Israel has developed differently than in most Western countries—from the ground and with minimal governmental interference—and thus it is an interesting case study. In spite of the diversity of the backgrounds of evaluators, there is strong agreement among them on the core of evaluation as an interdisciplinary profession whose aim is mainly as an advisory tool that serves for learning. They also strongly agree that the borders and essence of evaluation are not clear to evaluators, evaluees, and the public. While half of the respondents practicing evaluation do not identify themselves as evaluators, a professional community is important to them. Evaluators in Israel are not well connected to professional activities and developments outside of the country. They do not participate in international conferences and do not publish in scientific journals, yet they are very active in professional activities in Israel. The context of Israeli society is analyzed for a better understanding of these findings.

Fall

Evaluation and research: differences and similarities

Authors:
Pages:
1-31

This article discusses the similarities and dissimilarities between research and evaluation, which are two clearly differentiated disciplines despite their similarity in concepts, tools, and methods. The purpose of research is to enlarge the body of scientific knowledge; the purpose of evaluation is to provide useful feedback to program managers and entrepreneurs. In this article I examine the central characteristics of research and evaluation (validity, generalization, theory and hypotheses, relevance, and causality) and the different roles those characteristics play in each. I discuss the different functions of evaluation and research, and propose some criteria for fulfilling the different demands of evaluation and research. And I argue that the constant pressure to examine evaluations by the criteria of research prevents evaluation from becoming an independent discipline and delays the development of standards and criteria that are useful to evaluators.

Spring

The changing role of the evaluator in the process of organizational learning

Authors:
Pages:
81-104

In this article we examine the role of the evaluator in the process of organizational learning, and discuss the conditions necessary to facilitate the productive execution of such a role and the consequent ramifications for evaluation. First, we describe the process of organizational learning as presented in the literature of organizational learning. Second, we examine the demands that process presents to evaluators. Third, we discuss organizational learning within the context of participatory evaluation, and then explore the role of the external learning agent. Finally, we present some major changes in the role of the evaluator, changes that stem from the very nature of the organizational learning process. The focus on organizational learning transforms the role of the evaluator to one of knowledgeable facilitator who returns responsibility of the operation, development, and evaluation back to the project/program or organization. We conclude by acknowledging the difficulties involved in changing the traditional role of the evaluator, particularly in giving up control of the evaluation to the stakeholders and letting the organization become the "owner" of the evaluation process and knowledge, leaving the evaluator the important role of facilitator. The evaluator is responsible for the procedures of learning — providing tools and monitoring the learning that goes on. The learning content is the responsibility of the organization and not of the evaluator. While we do not preclude the traditional role of the evaluator, we do suggest a significant change in the procedures involved in evaluation, in the skills required to conduct effective evaluations within the organizational context, and in the ownership of the knowledge that emerges from such evaluation.