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Title: Enhancing evaluation capacity in projects: implications of collaborative evaluation
Author: Vathsala I Stone
Published: 2000
Publication: Annual Meeting of the American Evaluation Association: Honolulu, Hawaii

Practice has pointed out that collaborative evaluation enhances both the use and validity of evaluations (Brandon, 1998). It has also raised concerns regarding the quality of evaluation itself as result of collaboration (Cousins and Whitmore, 1998; Brisolara, 1998). This paper highlights the implications of collaboration for enhancing the evaluation capacity of projects and also examines the evaluator's role in the face of new challenges. It describes a project under way at the University at Buffalo's Center for Assistive Technology, which applies an innovative model (Lane, 1999) to transfer technology and products into the market place for persons with disabilities. We present the model and outline the project's unique, evaluation-driven processes. Its mixed methods evaluate the technologies and products in transfer, the program outcomes and impacts and the models in validation. Stakeholder involvement is an integral part of its participatory process (Cousins and Whitmore, 1998). Program staff shares decision-making, while industry, academic and consumer experts drive the processes through systematic input and feedback. As the paper highlights the ongoing use of the project's findings and observes the growing evaluation capacity of project personnel, it also recognizes the challenges to the evaluator's role and the implied need for meta-evaluation.

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