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Policy evaluation: Design and utilization

Abstract

In the 1960s when evaluation research came into fashion in the US, the assumption was that it would be used by public policymakers in an instrumental way for purposes of problem solving. This entailed a linear, knowledge-driven model for research utilization in which a direct relationship exists between knowing and doing (i.e., knowledge leads to action). The model combined the “rational” paradigm of organizational theory and the “scientific” paradigm of positivist philosophy of science into a consistent model of how evaluation research should be conducted and would be utilized. Both with respect to its normative and its empirical dimensions, original evaluation research model failed. Today evaluation research and its utilization are seen in quite a different perspective. However, though a parallel paradigm revolution or shift has taken place both with respect to the organization theory of evaluation research and its methodological basis, no new comprehensive and coherent evaluation research model has emerged to replace the original linear one.

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Erik Albaek is an associate professor of public administration at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. One of his main research areas is the utilization of social science in public policymaking.

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Albaek, E. Policy evaluation: Design and utilization. Knowledge in Society 2, 6–19 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02687230

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02687230

Keywords

  • Social Science Research
  • Evaluation Research
  • Policy Goal
  • Organizational Theory
  • Research Utilization