The PerƒEval Research Laboratory on Performance and the Evaluation of Public Action, affiliated with Laval University (Quebec, Canada), announces the publication of two new Performance and Evaluation Notebooks.
Steve Jacob (dir.), L’évaluation face aux défis de la professionnalisation et de l’éthique, Cahiers de la performance et de l’évaluation, n° 3, Québec, 2011.
Throughout national evaluation societies, evaluators are becoming more and more involved in professionalization processes which aim to give more visibility, respectability and credibility to the evaluative practice. As shown in this issue, professional ethics quite often occupies a marginal space in these reflections. The objective of this issue is to study the professionalization process and the process of developing of an ethical culture within the evaluative practice.The three chapters which comprise this issue address the theoretical and empirical link which unites professionalization and ethics. Beginning with a literature review, the first chapter (by M. Mbaïrewaye) sketches a portrait of research done on evaluation ethics, creates an inventory of ethical problems faced by evaluators and presents the prescriptive terms which are adopted to avoid or overcome ethical problems. The second and third chapters, which are more empirical, study the professionalization dynamic in Canada and Quebec. Through the unfinished professionalization experience of the Société québécoise d’évaluation de programme [Quebec Society for Program Evaluation] (SQEP), the second chapter (by S. Jacob) illustrates the secondary place granted to ethics and the difficulties generated by a professionalization venture for an evaluation society. Finally, leaning on the real-life experience and the imagination of Canadian evaluators, the third chapter (by S. Jacob) defines the characteristics expected of an evaluation “professional” including that which relates to ethical abilities. This inquiry reveals the fact that most respondents admit to having been confronted with ethical problems during the conducting of an evaluation.
Pierre-Marc Daigneault (dir.), Les approches théoriques en évaluation, Cahiers de la performance et de l’évaluation, n° 4, Québec, 2011.
From a prescriptive and practical orientation, evaluation theories guide the evaluator in that which relates to the conception and the organization of the evaluation. They also put forward certain values and ways of doing things with regards to the relevance of the evaluation, its aims, its methods as well as the role of the evaluator and the other participants. In many respects, theory on evaluation seems to suffer from a “benign” negligence on the part of those who practice public policy evaluation. If evaluators mobilize an impressive toolbox which includes numerous designs, methods, instruments and techniques, theoretical approaches which should guide evaluative practice do not always seem to be employed. Evaluation cannot be boiled down to a mechanical application of methods. This issue aims to overcome this gap, by offering long overdue and stimulating contributions (in French) on the theme of theoretical approaches in evaluation.A brief state of the issue on the nature and the role of theory in evaluation is first of all presented (by P.-M. Daigneault). This is followed by three contributions each presenting an evaluative approach offering different perspectives on the evaluative practice: empowerment evaluation (by J.-F. Bélanger), goal-free evaluation (by H.A. Rabearivelo and J. Lamouri) and deliberative democratic evaluation (by F. Théberge). In “Theories for Understanding and Applying,” an experienced evaluation practitioner shares her reflections on the role and the value of theory in evaluation (by A. Dignard).