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

GPS, Vol. 7 No. 3, (2011)

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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