Succès mitigés

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Learning from evaluation misadventures: the importance of good communication

Good communication is a key factor affecting the success of evaluation in many ways. This article presents four examples from a variety of government and international organizations illustrating communication-gone-wrong, and often evaluation management-gone-wrong. The article discusses what can be learned from these situations in order to provide for more effective communication in other evaluation contexts, and thereby enhancing the relevance, quality, and use of evaluation.

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Management challenges in M&E: thoughts from South Africa

This impressionistic narrative focuses on experiences in setting up South Africa's first government monitoring and evaluation (M&E) unit. The high political expectations for the program required that M&E provide a progress overview and diagnosis of the ambitious land reform program. Key contextual factors that influence success and that may pose challenges are considered in this account, which shows both how strategies had to be changed to address varied demands and the mixed results these produced.

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Je me souviens... de t'avoir trop longtemps cherché

In its simplest expression, the purpose of program evaluation is to explore the logic that links a set of related activities to their expected results. Hence, program evaluation serves to determine the extent to which the logic of a program has unfolded as expected. A prerequisite to this assessment is to have a program (evaluand) that is adequately defined. This article explores the potential impacts of having an ill-defined or incomplete definition of a program that is about to be evaluated.

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Successful or not: it depends on your frame of reference

This article describes an evaluation that was judged to be unsuccessful from the point of view of key program stakeholders. This was due to the fact that the evaluation did not support program advocates who had much to gain from positive evaluation findings. We argue that, although the knowledge needs of stakeholders must be taken into account, the integrity of evaluation practice, consistent with codes of professional behaviour, should guide the conduct of all aspects of what evaluators do.

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Navigating expectations, values and context: a Canadian evaluator abroad

This article uses the story of a multi-year project conducted in four countries in east central and southeastern Europe to illustrate the challenges faced by an evaluator working in a social, political, and cultural context different from her own. Situations involving divergent expectations and unexpected events created circumstances where the evaluator had to shift roles and approaches to ensure the evaluation could remain on course. The evaluation was deemed problematic at various stages of implementation and more successful at other times.

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La figure de l'évaluateur, mi-ingénieur mi-bricoleur

This article describes an evaluation experience in health promotion. Caught in a wide range of representations, challenges, and expectations, the evaluator adapts her practice to provide a quality evaluation to address the users' needs. The authors analyse the evaluation process with a focus on the French Evaluation Society's principles and suggest adjustments specific to the field of health promotion. The evaluator's ability to take on several roles and to adapt to the context is fundamental here.

English