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Facilitating Evaluation

Facilitating Evaluation
Principles in Practice

November 2017 | 336 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Michael Quinn Patton’s Facilitating Evaluation: Principles in Practice is the first book of its kind to explain in depth and detail how to facilitate evaluation processes with stakeholders. Using the author’s own stories of his experiences as an evaluation facilitator, the book illustrates the five evaluation facilitation principles that are the organizing framework for addressing how to work with stakeholders to generate evaluation questions, make decisions among methods, interpret findings, and participate in all aspects of evaluation. Ultimately, this book will help readers perform facilitation to enhance the relevance, credibility, meaningfulness, and utility of evaluations.


“A must-read for anyone considering a high-impact evaluation!”


–Margaret Lombe, Boston College

Volume Editors’ Introduction
About the Author
Context: My Facilitation Experience and Perspective

What Facilitators Do

What Is Evaluation?

Chapter 1. The Niche of Evaluation Facilitation
Facilitating the What Is Evaluation Task Force

The Results of Facilitation

Facilitation as White-Water Navigating

Evaluation Facilitation as a Distinct Form of Facilitation

Facilitation Lessons

Ten Resources for Explaining and Getting Started in Evaluation

Chapter 2. Facilitating Evaluation to Enhance Use
Evaluation Facilitation

Evaluation Facilitation Scenarios

Variations in the Need for Facilitation

Being Active, Reactive, Interactive, and Adaptive

Facilitation Lessons

Facilitation Resources for Skill Assessment and Development

Chapter 3. The Overarching Principle of Evaluation Facilitation: Be Utilization-Focused
Why Use Principles-Focused Evaluation Facilitation

GUIDE Dimensions of the Utilization-Focused Principle


Facilitation Lessons

Additional Resources

Quick Review

Overarching Versus Operating Principles

The Evaluation Facilitation Brittle Star

Chapter 4. Be Guided by the Personal Factor: The First Operating Principle
The Personal Factor

GUIDE Dimensions of the Personal Factor Principle

Effective Practices for Facilitating Evaluation

Facilitation Lessons


Resources for Applying the Personal Factor Principle

Chapter 5. Engage Through Options: The Second Operating Principle
Research on Deciding Among Options

What Makes Evaluation Decision Making Challenging for Stakeholders

Myriad of Choices

GUIDE Dimensions of the Engage Through Options Principle

Facilitation Lessons


Tools and Resources for Facilitating Engagement With Options

Chapter 6. Observe, Interpret, and Adapt: The Third Operating Principle
Adopting an Observation Mindset

Adapting in Real Time

Adaptive Action as a Framework for Evaluation Facilitation

GUIDE Criteria for the Observe, Interpret, Adapt Principle

Facilitation Lessons


Resources to Support Observation, Interpretation, and Adaptation

Chapter 7. Embed Evaluative Thinking Throughout: The Fourth Operating Principle
Evaluative Thinking

GUIDE Criteria for the Evaluative Thinking Principle

Facilitation Lessons


Additional Resources to Support Facilitating Evaluative Thinking

Chapter 8. Invigorate With Leading-Edge Inputs: The Fifth Operating Principle
Facilitating at the Leading Edge

GUIDE Criteria for the Leading-Edge Principle


Leading-Edge Tools and Resources

Chapter 9. Principles-Focused Evaluation Facilitation: Conclusion and a Look Forward
Central Theme of the Book

Integrating the Principles

Integrating Principles in Practice

Situation Recognition and Evaluation Facilitation

Graphic Recording for Evaluation Facilitation

Some Issues Not Addressed in This Book

The Future of Evaluation Facilitation

Final Offering of Resources to Expand Your Evaluation Facilitation Horizons

Other Frameworks for Evaluation Facilitation


“A must-read for anyone considering a high-impact evaluation!”

Margaret Lombe
Boston College

“The lessons of this book will make a big difference in the way we think about evaluation processes and problem solving.”

Chris Stream
University of Las Vegas-Nevada
Key features


  • Facilitation principles are identified, explained, and illustrated providing guidance that applies to any evaluation context or purpose.
  • The GUIDE Framework provides 5 criteria for use of each principle in practice.
  • Between chapter "portages" offer diverse perspectives from expert evaluation facilitators.
  • End of chapter practice assignments, tools, and resources provide added exercises for students and those who want to do more.

Sage College Publishing

You can purchase this book and request an instructor sample on our US College site:

Go To College Site

This title is also available on SAGE Research Methods, the ultimate digital methods library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.