Influence and originality in Michael Quinn Patton's "Utilization-Focused Evaluation"

Moleko, Motheo Precious (2011-03)

Thesis (MPhil (Sociology and Social Anthropology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The concern of this study is primarily with insights, either acquired or original, which may be gleaned from the works of Michael Quinn Patton, especially his seminal book, “Utilization-Focused Evaluation” with regards to utilisation of evaluation. The importance of utilisation of evaluation processes and findings cannot be overemphasised. Use is critical to the success of multiple development programmes in South Africa which collectively will ultimately determine the country’s accomplishment of its developmental goals. The study is an analysis of the relevant literature on utilisation of evaluation; comparing and contrasting Patton’s writings with those of other scholars on this topic of utilisation. The process of understanding these insights involves a brief biography of Patton to get a glimpse into the factors which influenced the development of his ideas and to learn from them as well as from his innovative ideas. The major theme of utilization-focused approach to evaluation is utility and actual use of evaluations. The study therefore devotes special attention to these concepts in order to find out how he defines them, his motivation to focus on them and his perceptions of the purposes of evaluation. These determine his conception of the evaluation field; and his success in promoting evaluation utilisation is measured against them. The study also contains a detailed discussion of the so-called “paradigms debate” between the quantitative and qualitative paradigms in the educational and social sciences in the 1960s and 1970s. This debate was necessary to quell the division triggered by the domination of the quantitative paradigm over qualitative one in these fields and to promote understanding of the need to prioritise research questions by designing studies to answer to them instead of research problems being fitted into “onesize- fits-all” readymade designs, the study argues. The role played by Patton in turning evaluation into a profession is also discussed at length. His works on this subject include a contribution towards enhancing quality and credibility of evaluation, major input on the Standards of Excellence for Evaluation as well as assisting in the development of methods for evaluation. The inevitability of politics in evaluation is highlighted together with the importance of their ethical conduct. The debates in the American Evaluation Association are very illuminating and Patton’s involvement in them is detailed in the study. They cover a range of issues which are useful to deepening of understanding of evaluation conduct and particular factors which affect use. The study ends with a critical analysis of Patton’s contribution to utilisation of evaluations by programme decision makers and its significance to South Africa.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doel van dié studie het hoofsaaklik te doen met insigte, hetsy oorspronklik of ontleen aan ander bronne, wat afgelei kan word van die werk van Michael Quinn Patton, veral van sy invloedryke boek, “Utilization-Focused Evaluation,” ten opsigte van die toepassing van program-evaluasie. Die belangrikheid van die toepassing van evalueringsprosesse en -bevindings, kan nie oorbeklemtoon word nie. Toepassing is krities tot die sukses van veelvuldige ontwikkelingsprogramme in Suid-Afrika wat gesamentlik uiteindelik sal bepaal of die land sy ontwikkelingsdoelwitte sal bereik. Die studie is ’n analise van die tersaaklike literatuur oor die toepassing van evaluering; wat Patton se werk met dié van ander skrywers oor die onderwerp van toepassing vergelyk. Die proses om dié insigte te verstaan, behels ’n kort biografie van Patton ten einde ’n vlugtige blik te kry oor die faktore wat tot die ontwikkeling van sy idees aanleiding gegee het en om van hulle, sowel as van sy innoverende idees, te leer. Die hooftema van die toespitsing op die toepassingsbenadering vir evaluering, is sy veelsydigheid en die werklike gebruik van evaluasies. Derhalwe le die studie hom dus veral op dié konsepte toe ten einde vas te stel hoe hy hulle gebruik het, wat sy motivering was om daarop te fokus en sy siening rondom die doelwitte van evaluasie. Dít bepaal sy begrip van die gebied van evaluasie, en sy sukses ten einde die toepassing van evaluasie te bevorder, word hierteenoor gemeet. ’n Uitvoerige bespreking oor die sogenaamde “ paradigma-debat’’ tussen die kwantatiewe en kwalitatiewe paradigmas in die opvoedkundige en sosiale wetenskappe van die 1960’s en 1970’s word ook hierin saamgevat. Verder voer die studie aan dat die debat noodsaaklik was ten einde die verdeeldheid te oorkom wat deur die oorheersing van die kwantitatiewe oor die kwalitatiewe paradigmas op dié terreine veroorsaak is, en om begrip te bevorder betreffende die behoefte om navorsingsvrae voorrang te gee deur studies te ontwerp wat dié vrae beantwoord, in plaas daarvan om navorsingsprobleme in ’n klaargemaakte een-grootte-pas-almal ontwerp te plaas. Patton se rol om program-evaluasie in’n professie te omskep, word breedvoerig bespreek. Sy werk oor die onderwerp sluit ’n bydrae in om die gehalte en geloofwaardigheid van evaluasie te verhef, belangrike insette ten opsigte van die Standaarde van Uitnemenheid vir Evaluasie, sowel as om met die ontwikkeling van evaluasiemetodes te help.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/6711
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