Evaluation has formed a major focus of development work over the last fifty years, encompassing diverse traditions, and has shifted from a highly specialised niche area to an increasingly crowded industry. Traditional evaluation approaches based on linear models have failed to account for the way that programmes and objectives can change from their original design over a relatively short period of time.
INTRAC believes that evaluations require flexible approaches that take account of and respond to change. One major challenge that evaluators in the third sector are currently grappling with is that of growing demand for performance-based management, accountability and quantification, making ‘learning-oriented’ evaluation increasingly difficult to undertake. Evaluation using linear models has become a defence against action research and a barrier to bringing about transformative social change that enables and sustains people and communities in the long term.
Briefing Paper 22 - Performance-based management and evaluation