EvalParticipativa is a community of practice and learning for participatory evaluation for Latin America and the Caribbean. It is a joint initiative developed by the Social and Environmental Labour Studies Programme (PETAS) at the National University of San Juan (Argentina), the Focelac+ Evaluation Capacity Development and Networking project in Latin America, run by the German Institute for Development Evaluation (DEval), and the Costa Rican Ministry of Planning and Economic Policy (Mideplan).
Launched in 2019, and in line with the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals, EvalParticipativa seeks to strengthen the role of civil society in the evaluation of policies and programmes. It is guided by the desire to see distinct social actors increase their participation and take more leading roles in the evaluation of initiatives that affect and involve them. To do this, a space has been created for both virtual and face-to-face interaction where those interested in participatory evaluation can reflect on and improve their practice, support each other’s efforts, and design diverse products together (methodologies and tools) to help disseminate the practice of this type of evaluation.
Our experience developing and consolidating EvalParticipativa has convinced us of the huge potential that peer work has, to deepen knowledge and gain shared insight from experience in this evaluation field. We, therefore, wish to continue learning from specific participatory evaluation experiences developed in the region; expand their scope; and share their methods and tools. We do this with the conviction that these approaches help (i) strengthen the organisations involved, equipping them to exert more control over their own development, (ii) improve their capacity to reflect, analyse and propose solutions, (iii) contribute new and different knowledge so better policies, programmes and projects can be created, and (iv) contribute to building more inclusive and equal societies.
We recognise the existence of diverse experiences in Latin America and the Caribbean in terms of participatory evaluation. The first and most common approach constitutes carrying out participatory evaluations that contemplate the active involvement of distinct stakeholders. At the end of 2019, we held our First Gathering of Participatory Evaluation Experiences and this allowed us to identify diverse experiences in the region and analyse the key factors involved in facilitating these processes.
One of the fruits of this event was the publication of Sowing & Harvesting: a participatory evaluation handbook. This book systematises both conceptual and methodological aspects of this approach and pays special attention to the role of the evaluator as facilitator of the evaluation process; and the participatory tools as key components of this approach.
There are also more analytical approaches that contemplate this type of evaluation in general or one area in particular, its potential, characteristics etc. Other papers carry out comparatives between participatory evaluation and other types of evaluation, whether epistemological or methodological, as well as their potential, limits or ‘bottle necks’ in different scenarios: in public policy, in the area of development cooperation, among non-governmental organisations etc. In the interest of strengthening the institutionalisation of participatory evaluation in the region, we would like to continue to identify and value these initiatives and practices and, in doing so, encourage the construction of knowledge from and for Latin America and the Caribbean. In partnership with multiple organisations, we have envisaged various activities for this purpose during 2021 and 2022, including the EvalParticipativa Award for academic production, organised with the support of PETAS from UNSJ, Focelac from DEval, ReLAC and Mideplan.
EvalParticipativa Award for academic production
Expand knowledge on participatory evaluation that is inclusive, linked to the 2030 Agenda, and the result of academic and scientific research.
Types of studies
The articles can be theoretical or empirical in nature.
Theoretical articles are original works on ideas, concepts, authors or important theoretical discussion topics regarding participatory evaluation. They could also review current knowledge on a topic and its link to the future policy or research agenda, outline an epistemological discussion on this evaluation type and/or compare it with other approaches, etc.
Empirical articles are papers that provide rigorous evidence on participatory evaluation theory and practice, and a case study (or several) that offer evidence and build an analytical reflection from the case study (or studies) on a specific dimension or facet of participatory evaluation.
The articles should be original works, and not previously published in the format requested in this invitation. They can be based on research or systematisation and deal with one or more participatory evaluation experience(s); present a summary (total or partial) of an undergraduate dissertation or postgraduate thesis; or even be specifically written for this competition.
The papers can be presented by individual authors or as a team, with the condition that all authors are native to, and residents in, Latin America at the time this invitation is published. The articles can be submitted in Spanish, Portuguese and English.
The following criteria will be taken into account when the submitted papers are assessed:
- Attention paid to the reality of participatory evaluation in the region
- Contribution or proposal of new knowledge in the field of participatory evaluation
- Clear outline of the issue, demonstrating conceptual and methodological rigour
Awards will go to the best three (3) papers at the discretion of the panel of judges. Each one will receive the following prize:
- Sponsorship for one person per award-winning paper to participate in an evaluation event (conference) in Latin America and the Caribbean, to be held in 2022. Inscription to the event, travel and accommodation expenses will be covered.
- Publication of the three papers in an online EvalParticipativa publication, with appropriate illustration and layout design included.
- Each award-winning paper will be featured on the EvalParticipativa platform.
Panel of judges
The panel of judges is made up of academics, specialists and representatives from EvalParticipativa and ReLAC (Latin American and Caribbean Network of Monitoring, Evaluation and Systematization), as well as the partners of this open contest. The judges will be named along with the award verdicts.
In order to ensure that the articles presented comply with the competition requirements, an article proposal should first be approved by the EvalParticipativa coordinator team and this should be sent to the following email address for this purpose: email@example.com This article proposal should be no longer than 500 words, and briefly describe the title of the paper, research question, object to be reviewed and methodology.
Characteristics of the articles
- The articles should be no longer than 15,000 words, including title, abstracts, key words, footnotes, diagrams, tables and bibliography.
- The papers should be sent in Microsoft Word format (.doc / .docx) to the Award email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and an acknowledgement of receipt will be sent in return. The file should have the same name as the article title.
- Each article should include:
- Abstract no longer than 200 words that presents the article’s objective, main questions or aspects to be addressed and conclusions in a clear and concise way.
- Key words: a maximum of five terms, all of which must be internationally accepted in scientific/social science disciplines and/or common bibliometric terms.
- Non-text elements (charts, tables, maps, images, illustrations, etc.) may be included in the body of the article, inserted next to the corresponding text. They should be numbered and titled, specifying the source at the bottom, and making specific reference to them in the text.
- The text format should respect the following rules:
- Font should be size 12 and the document margins 3 cm.
- The text should not include indentations except for in the case of a quote or list paragraph.
- Notes should be numbered sequentially at the foot of the page, not at the end of the text. Their use should be reduced as much as possible and should always be explanatory and never for bibliographic citations.
- Pages should be numbered at the foot of the page beginning with the abstract page, starting with number 1.
- Text sections and subsections are to be numbered (in numerals and separated by points) with titles in lower case and bold type. Section headings for the Introduction, Conclusions and Bibliographic references are preferably not numbered.
- Bibliographic citations and references: the APA format is strongly suggested. Several manuals can be consulted for more information (see here and here) and there are web pages and tutorials to make it easier (see here and here), with consistency being key for the way citations and references are presented.