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An Epistemological Approach to Evaluation
An Epistemological Approach to Evaluation

Author(s): Monica Puscas
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences, Political Sciences, Civil Society, Governance, Public Administration
Published by: Editura Ovidius University Press
Keywords: evaluation theories; paradigm; political science; public policy evaluation; program theory evaluation

Summary/Abstract: In this paper I propose to identify the scientific context for the development of evaluation theories, analysing their compatibility with specific epistemological approaches belonging to political science. Starting from the observation that the theories of evaluation have been developed mostly in the educational, economic and in the new public management sphere, particularly in the public policy analysis, I identify a series of arguments based on which assessment should find its place in political science and should not be treated as an independent research field. In the first part I present Thomas Kuhn’s conception regarding research paradigms, offering examples from political sciences. In the second part I present the evolution of evaluation theories by analysing their characteristics in relation to what a paradigm implies and their compatibilities with specific paradigms of political sciences such as constructivism. In the end I will do a comparative analysis regarding specific political science approaches treating evaluation as part of the process of public policy analysis and approaches based on the program theory evaluation and highlight differences and similarities between the two types of theoretical approaches. I will also present a few epistemological implications for the current status of evaluation theories, launching new perspectives for analysis and research.

  • Issue Year: 2015
  • Issue No: 4
  • Page Range: 7-22
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: English