Click here to download

Developmental Evaluation. Many potentialities and some limits of a reflexive approach to complex programmes evaluation
Journal Title: RIV Rassegna Italiana di Valutazione 
Author/s: Gabriele Tomei 
Year:  2016 Issue: 64 Language: Italian 
Pages:  23 Pg. 132-154 FullText PDF:  1032 KB
DOI:  10.3280/RIV2016-064008
(DOI is like a bar code for intellectual property: to have more infomation:  clicca qui   and here 

DE is one of the essential references of each evaluation that wander to support complex programmes’ dynamics engaging social actors in gathering, analysing and using research evidences. Reviewing some practical experimentation of DE and referring to the recent debate about the analytical dimensions of complexity, the article unveil that this approach is capable to explore only the social dimensions of complexity, but that it fails in tackling the technical and the institutional ones. Finally, the paper analyses how some recent evolution of DE (as outcome-based evaluation) introduced in its original framework some theoretical perspectives and methodological devices that can empower DE’s capability to understand also the technical and institutional dimensions of complexity.
Keywords: Developmental Evaluation; Complexity; Reflexive evaluation; Outcome Harvesting; Outcome Mapping

  1. Arkesteijn M., van Mierlo B., e Leeuwis C. (2015), “The need for reflexive evaluation approaches in development cooperation”, in: Evaluation, 21(1), 99-115.
  2. Bertin G. (2011), Con-sensus method. Ricerca sociale e costruzione di senso, FrancoAngeli, Milano
  3. Boyd A., Geerling T., Gregory W. J., Kagan C., Midgley G., Murray P. e Walsh, M. P. (2007), “Systemic evaluation: a participative, multi-method approach”, in: Journal of the Operational Research Society, 58(10), 1306-1320.
  4. Charmaz K. (2006), Constructing Grounded Theory. A Practical Guide through Qualitative Analysis, Sage, London.
  5. Davies R. and Dart J. (2005), The ‘Most Significant Change’ Technique. A Guide to Its Use, mimeog., -- (scaricabile al link
  6. Earl S., Carden F., Smutylo T. (2001), Outcome Mapping. Building Learning and Reflection into Development Programs, IRDC, Ottawa -- (scaricabile al link:
  7. Gerrits L., e Verweij S. (2015), “Taking stock of complexity in evaluation: A discussion of three recent publications”, in: Evaluation, 21(4), 481-491.
  8. Giddens A. (1994), Le conseguenze della modernità. Fiducia e rischio, sicurezza e pericolo, Il Mulino, Bologna.
  9. Giddens, A. (1990), La costituzione della società: lineamenti di teoria della strutturazione, Edizioni di Comunità, Roma.
  10. Guba E.G. e Lincoln Y.S. (1987), Forth Generation Evaluation. In: Palumbo D.J. (ed.), The Politics of Program Evaluation, Sage, Thousand Oaks.
  11. Leonard S. N., Fitzgerald R. N. e Riordan G. (2016), “Using developmental evaluation as a design thinking tool for curriculum innovation in professional higher education”, in: Higher Education Research & Development, 35(2), 309-321.
  12. Mayne J. (2011), “Contribution Analysis: Addressing Cause and Effect”, in: Forss K., Marra M., Schwartz R. (eds.) (2011), Evaluating the Complex. Attribution, Contribution and Beyond, Transaction Publishers, Somerset, NJ.
  13. Mintzberg H. (2007), Tracking Strategies: Toward a General Theory, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  14. Moro G. (2005), La valutazione delle politiche pubbliche, Carocci, Roma.
  15. Patton, M.Q. (1994), “Developmental Evaluation”, in: Evaluation Practice, 15(3).
  16. Patton, M.Q. (2008), Utilization-focused evaluation, Sage Publication, London-New Delhi.
  17. Patton, M.Q. (2011), Developmental Evaluation: Applying Complexity Concepts to Enhance Innovation and Use, Guilford Press, New York-London.
  18. Pawson R., Tilley N. (1997), Realistic Evaluation, Sage Publication, London-New Delhi.
  19. Ramirez R., Kora G. e Shephard D. (2015), “Utilization Focused Developmental Evaluation: Learning Through Practice”, in: Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation, 11(24), 37-53.
  20. Rogers P. J. (2008), Using Programme Theory to Evaluate Complicated and Complex Aspects of Interventions, in: Evaluation, January, vol. 14, 1Stame N. (2016), Valutazione pluralista, FrancoAngeli, Milano.
  21. Stame N. (2001), “Tre approcci principali alla valutazione: distinguere e combinare”, in: Palumbo M., Il processo di valutazione. Decidere, programmare, valutare, Franco Angeli, Milano.
  22. Stame N. (2016), Valutazione pluralista, FrancoAngeli, Milano.
  23. Strauss A. e Corbin J. (1990), Basic of Qualitative Research: Grounded Theory Procedures and Techniques, Sage, Newbury Park.
  24. Tarozzi M. (2008), Che cos’è la grounded theory, Carocci, Roma.
  25. Tomei G. (2010), “Come valutare la qualità delle politiche per la cittadinanza? Due domande (teorico-metodologiche) ed un tentativo (empirico) di risposta”, in: Rivista trimestrale di Scienza dell’Amministrazione, vol.4.
  26. Tomei G. (2016), Valutare gli outcome dei programmi complessi. Approcci, metodologie, tecniche, FrancoAngeli, Milano.
  27. Tomei, G. (2004), Valutazione partecipata della qualità. Il cittadino utente nel giudizio sugli interventi di politica e servizio sociale, FrancoAngeli, Milano.
  28. Ulrich W. e Reynolds M. (2010), “Critical systems heuristics”, in: Systems approaches to managing change: A practical guide, Springer, London.
  29. Van Winkelen C. (2016) “Using developmental evaluation methods with communities of practice”, in: The Learning Organization, 23(2/3).
  30. Weiss C. (1998), Evaluation: Methods for Studying Programs and Policies, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs NY.
  31. Wilson-Grau R. and Britt H. (2013), Outcome Harvesting, Ford Foundation MENA, Cairo -- (scaricabile al link:
  32. Zimmerman B., Lindberg C., e Plsek P. (1998), Edgeware: Complexity Resources for Healthcare Leaders, VHA Publishing, Irving, TX.

Gabriele Tomei, Developmental Evaluation. Many potentialities and some limits of a reflexive approach to complex programmes evaluation in "RIV Rassegna Italiana di Valutazione" 64/2016, pp. 132-154, DOI:10.3280/RIV2016-064008


FrancoAngeli is a member of Publishers International Linking Association a not for profit orgasnization wich runs the CrossRef service, enabing links to and from online scholarly content