Date of Award


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Psychology, PhD


School of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Christina A. Christie

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Stewart I. Donaldson

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Tarek Azzam

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

David M. Fetterman

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2012 Michael Allen Harnar


evaluation, participatory, transformative

Subject Categories

Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Psychology | Social Psychology


Stakeholder participation in evaluation, where the evaluator engages stakeholders in the process, is prevalent in evaluation practice and is an important focus of evaluation research. Cousins and Whitmore proposed a bifurcation of participatory evaluation into the two streams of transformative participatory and practical participatory evaluation (T-PE and P-PE respectively). T-PE stems from a social justice perspective and P-PE has more of a use orientation. T-PE is an underdeveloped evaluation theory with relatively low operational specificity. Case examples provide some understanding of it in practice, but comprehensive empirical support is still forthcoming. This study aims to develop a greater understanding of the participatory evaluation schema of P-PE and T-PE and to develop more practice-based and accessible operational specificity of T-PE by developing a logic-model like representation informed by both theorists and practitioners. In the process, a set of 28 key T-PE variables and eight statements that help identify T-PE evaluators were developed.

The American Evaluation Association's membership (N=6,615) was invited to an online survey where they were asked their agreement on eight statements related to participatory evaluation. If they were at all participatory in their approach to evaluation they were asked to model their evaluation practice using an online software. A total of 240 evaluators modeled their practice. A most-endorsed model was created from the drawings of those identified as T-PE evaluators (n=142). A sample of these (n=21) commented on the model through webinars.

The model created in this research is quantitatively and qualitatively different from a model created by a group of practitioners identified as more utilization-focused (n=16). The T-PE model was more likely to have stakeholder involvement and community trust at its center and the comparison model was more action-oriented and outcomes driven. This theory- and practice-informed T-PE model, the set of variables expected to be key to T-PE, and the set of statements that might be used to identify T-PE evaluators from other practitioners provide for a more descriptive theory of transformative participatory evaluation and introduce a novel method for engaging practitioners in the theory development process.