Taking What Action for Change? Dare Evaluation Build a New Social Order?

Jean A. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


ABSTRACT: This article, originally presented as a keynote at the annual meeting of the Visitors Studies Association in Indianapolis, IN, in July 2015, raises the challenging question of if and how informal educators can use evaluation as a tool to effect social change. The concept of social betterment, a phrase common in evaluation parlance, is problematic because evaluators need to understand whose values will determine what counts as better. Evaluators rarely have the power to make change directly; evaluation practice plays an indirect role in the world of organizational power. Helpfully, research on evaluation use provides useful ideas about how to encourage people to take action for change. Building on these ideas, it is important to engage intended users in evaluation processes, and seven principles provide guidance on how to do this.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-11
Number of pages9
JournalVisitor Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2016

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