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Critical Friend Approach: Policy Evaluation Between Methodological Soundness, Practical Relevance, and Transparency of the Evaluation Process

Published in GPS, Vol. 7 No. 3

Methodological soundness, practical relevance, and a transparent evaluation process can be viewed as the three main elements of today’s common understanding of evaluation. Based on these elements, a great diversity of evaluation approaches has been developed in evaluation theory and practice in the past years. In this paper, the “critical friend” approach is presented as a promising approach. This approach follows the common understanding of evaluation and takes into account empirical findings that showed that the use of evaluations depends decisively on the interest of the program managers and decision makers in the results of the study. The approach is discussed based on the example of the evaluation of the child care vouchers project in the city of Lucerne.

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