Participatory evaluation

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Participatory evaluation is an approach to program evaluation. It provides for the active involvement of those with a stake in the program: providers, partners, beneficiaries, and any other interested parties. All involved decide how to frame the questions used to evaluate the program, and all decide how to measure outcomes and impact. It is often used in international development.[1][2]

Advantages of use[edit]

  • Identify locally relevant questions.
  • Improve program performance
  • Empower participants
  • Build capacity
  • Develop leaders and build teams
  • Sustain organizational learning and growth[1][2]

Disadvantages of use[edit]

  • Time and commitment of all involved
  • Resource-intensive during evaluation
  • Conflict resolution may be needed[1][2]


  • Participant focus and ownership
  • Negotiation
  • Learning
  • Flexibility[1][2]


It is a form of community-based participatory research and participatory action research. The evaluation is designed for the people involved in a program as well as its funders, with the hope that results of the evaluation get used rather than sitting on a program funder's shelf.

Tools for monitoring and evaluation in program development, including international development, such as creating a logic model or outcome mapping, can be forms of participatory evaluation if stakeholders are involved.

This method is endorsed by the United Nations[3][4][5] and is used in the development programs of many countries including Canada,[6] the US[2] and New Zealand.[7]

Practitioners of participatory evaluation in academia include Clemencia Rodriguez and Barry Checkoway.