Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Gary J. Skolits
John M. Peters, Ralph G. Brockett, Lisa T. Fall
The current study provides insight into the state of the field of evaluation regarding practitioners’ understanding and application of reflective practice (RP), one of six essential competencies in program evaluation identified and discussed by Stevahn, King, Ghere, and Minnema (2005). Specifically, the purpose of this study was to determine how professional evaluators view RP, the extent and manner in which they engage in RP behaviors, and how evaluators conceptualize whether RP efforts affect, if at all, the evaluation process. Through a snowball sample, nineteen highly experienced evaluators took part in an hour long interview. These interviews with evaluators who have been practicing evaluation for ten or more years offered a broader understanding of where professionals in the discipline stand with regard to RP in evaluation. Overall, participants conceptualized RP as both an intuitive and purposeful learning process that includes thinking, questioning, self-awareness, and multiple perspectives. Participants reported using RP for communicating and sharing with others or with the evaluation community, for thinking about their work personally, for evaluation of their work, and through the use of professional guidelines. Participants reported that RP is not specific to any part of the evaluation process but is instead a process that continues throughout the evaluation as well as after the fact. With regard to collaboration, participants discussed involving stakeholders and evaluation clients, evaluation team members, and colleagues in the process of RP, both formally and informally. Typically they collaborated for the purpose of feedback or learning and for thinking through the evaluation together. Limitations of the study are addressed, and implications for practice and recommendations for future research are provided.
Smith, Tiffany Lee, "Reflective Practice, Collaboration, and Stakeholder Communication: Where Does the Field of Evaluation Stand?. " PhD diss., University of Tennessee, 2014.