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Unpacking the Politics of Evaluation: A Dramaturgical Analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>10/2010
<mark>Journal</mark>Evaluation
Issue number4
Volume16
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)431-444
StatePublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This article draws on a four-year evaluation that assessed the delivery of support services by 15 British hospices and social agencies to family carers of terminally ill people. It aims to examine the politics of evaluation research. Three main arguments are posited: first, that evaluation research is distinguishable from ‘quick and dirty’ evaluations, which are insufficiently resourced and not implemented properly; second, what constitutes a contribution to knowledge and particularly what constitutes ‘new’ knowledge is inherently political; third, drawing on dramaturgy theory, the article presents findings from the study that illustrate how service providers draw selectively in various ways on knowledge, to present their work favourably to their audiences. Finally, the article concludes that such knowledge manipulation raises questions about whose voices are heard within organizations, and the politics involved in the writing of grant applications, in the processes of tendering for the funding of local services.