Evaluation and Education for Sustainable Development

Navigating a shifting landscape in regional centres of expertise

Authored by: Rob O’Donoghue

Routledge Handbook of Higher Education for Sustainable Development

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415727303
eBook ISBN: 9781315852249
Adobe ISBN: 9781317918110


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The expert-mediated evaluation of change and impact found in the education literature was primarily framed in the structural functionalist conventions of modernity that emerged within education as an emancipatory process of mediated social control in the education project of the twentieth century (Popkewitz 2008). Evaluation in Education is characterised by tensions across empirical analytical, constructivist and socially critical perspectives that have been hotly contested over the years. The emergence of Critical Realism after Bhaskar (2008 [1978]) has latterly come to provide some useful tools for resolving much of the ambivalence in the social sciences of the 1980s and 1990s when appreciative enquiry (Cooperrider and Srivastva 1987) and developmental evaluation (Patton 1994) began to emerge and were applied in the evaluation of schooling, community and development projects. Drawing on the Critical Realism oeuvre, the works of Pawson and Tilley (1997) are notable for signalling the advent of a realist turn in evaluation research that brought some order to a diverse and contested landscape at the close of the twentieth century.

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