Working with Heterogeneity

A Pluralist Strategy for Evaluation
  • Ann Taket
  • Leroy White

Abstract

Our experience in evaluation has been that we need to find ways of working in situations which have a high degree of variety and in which acceptance and respect for difference is important. Such situations display a high degree of heterogeneity, in a number of different senses: the differences between the people involved in the situation; differences between groups; and lack of stability in the environment. In contrast, most well-established evaluation strategies expect a stable hypothesis to be under test, do not recognise more than one perception of a situation, and are based on the implicit assumption that a unitary description of reality can be offered. The starting point for the paper will be a critical analysis of a particular strategy for evaluation arising from within the systems tradition. The concept of heterogeneity will be explored and the paper will present an alternative way of approaching evaluation, which we have found particularly valuable for use where a high degree of variety exists. The pluralist strategy described is based on the acknowledgement and respect of difference, rather than its rationalisation. Elements of this strategy for evaluation will be illustrated with examples from recent work in the social policy arena.

Keywords

Epistemological Belief Voluntary Sector Operational Research Society Contingency Base Approach Stable Hypothesis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ann Taket
    • 1
  • Leroy White
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Education and Health StudiesSouth Bank UniversityLondonUK
  2. 2.School of Mathematics, Statistics and ComputingUniversity of GreenwichLondonUK

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