Empowerment evaluation is designed to help people take control over their own lives and accomplish their dreams. People learn how to monitor and evaluate their own programs. They learn to establish their own goals, strategies for accomplishing those goals, and agree upon credible evidence (with their sponsors). This does not happen in a vacuum. They are conducting their own evaluation within the context of what they are already being held accountable for. The difference is they are in charge and they are determining their own fate. They are using data to inform their own decision making in a quest to be more self-determined. They are building capacity in the process of improving their own programs. They conduct these evaluations with the assistance of a critical friend or evaluation coach.
Some people call this turning evaluation on its head – just because it places people back where they belong – in the driver’s seat of their program evaluation.
For additional information see:
Fetterman, Deitz, and Gesundheit (2007) Empowerment evaluation: a collaborative approach to evaluating and transforming a medical school curriculum (Academic Medicine)
Fetterman and Wandersman (2007) Empowerment evaluation: yesterday, today, and tomorrow (American Journal of Evaluation)
Fetterman and Wandersman (2005) Empowerment evaluation principles in practice (Guilford Publications)