Participation of marginalized groups in evaluation: Mission impossible?

  • Baur V
  • Abma T
  • Widdershoven G
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Responsive evaluation facilitates a dialogical process by creating social conditions that enhance equal input from all stakeholders. However, when multiple stakeholders are involved, some groups tend to go unheard or not be taken seriously. In these cases, empowerment of the more silent voices is needed. The inclusion of marginalized groups in evaluation is thus a challenge for evaluators. It raises questions about how to include all stakeholders in the evaluation process in a way that empowers marginalized stakeholder groups, and at the same time is acceptable for the dominant stakeholder groups. In this article we describe our experiences with a responsive evaluation project on the participation of client councils in policy processes in a Dutch residential care and nursing home organization. We focus on the value of hermeneutic dialogue (fostering mutual understanding and learning processes) in addressing the challenges of working with stakeholders in unequal relationships. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Hermeneutic dialogue
  • Marginalized groups
  • Participation
  • Responsive evaluation

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  • Vivianne E. Baur

  • Tineke A. Abma

  • Guy A.M. Widdershoven

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