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Empowerment Evaluation

Empowerment Evaluation
Knowledge and Tools for Self-Assessment, Evaluation Capacity Building, and Accountability

Second Edition
Edited by:

September 2014 | 392 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

This Second Edition celebrates 21 years of the practice of empowerment evaluation, a term first coined by David Fetterman during his presidential address for the American Evaluation Association. Since that time, this approach has altered the landscape of evaluation and has spread to a wide range of settings in more than 16 countries. In this new book, an outstanding group of evaluators from academia, government, nonprofits, and foundations assess how empowerment evaluation has been used in practice since the publication of the landmark 1996 edition. The book includes 10 empowerment evaluation principles, a number of models and tools to help put empowerment evaluation into practice, reflections on the history and future of the approach, and illustrative case studies from a number of different projects in a variety of diverse settings. The Second Edition offers readers the most current insights into the practice of this stakeholder-involvement approach to evaluation.

Stewart I. Donaldson
David M. Fetterman
1. History and Overview
David M. Fetterman
2. Empowerment Evaluation: Theories, Principles, Concepts, and Steps

Janice B. Yost
3. Mission Fulfillment: How Empowerment Evaluation Enables Funders to Achieve Results
Laura C. Leviton
4. Foundation Strategy Drives the Choice of Empowerment Evaluation Principles

Susana Sastre-Merino, Pablo Mera, José Maria Díaz-Puente, María Jose Fernández-Moral
5. Capacity Building Through Empowerment Evaluation: An Aymara Women Artisans Organization In Puno, Peru
Janet Clinton, John Hattie
6. Teachers as Evaluators: An Empowerment Evaluation Approach
United States

David M. Fetterman
7. Hewlett-Packard’s $15 Million Digital Village: A Place-based Empowerment Evaluation Initiative
Pamela Imm, Mathew Biewener, Dawn Oparah, Kim Dash
8. Empowerment Evaluation in Action in SAMHSA’s Service to Science Initiative: Cultivating Ownership and Enhancing Sustainability
Abraham Wandersman
9. Getting To Outcomes: An Empowerment Evaluation Capacity Building Model
Ivan Haskell, Aidyn L. Iachini
10. “No Excuses”:  Using Empowerment Evaluation to Build Evaluation Capacity and Measure School Social Worker Effectiveness
Regina Day Langhout, Jesica Siham Fernandez
11. Empowerment Evaluation Conducted by 4th and 5th Grade Students
Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar, Tina Taylor-Ritzler, Gloria Morales-Curtin
12. Building Evaluation Capacity to Engage in Empowerment Evaluation: A Case of Organizational Transformation
Andrea E. Lamont, Annie Wright, Abraham Wandersman, Debra Hamm
13. An Empowerment Evaluation Approach to Implementing with Quality at Scale: The Quality Implementation Process and Tools
David M. Fetterman, Linda Delaney, Beverley Triana-Tremain, Marian Evans-Lee
14. Empowerment Evaluation: Evaluation Capacity Building in a 10-Year Tobacco Prevention Initiative
Mathew Chinman, Joie Acosta, Sarah B. Hunter, Patricia Ebener
15. Getting To Outcomes®: Evidence of Empowerment Evaluation and Evaluation Capacity Building at Work
David M. Fetterman, Abraham Wandersman, Shakeh J. Kaftarian
16. Reflections on Emergent Themes and Next Steps Revisited

“The book provides depth and detail about the nature, variety, rigors, and credibility of self-evaluation, no small contribution…there is much of value here, strong evidence of an approach that, well-facilitated and comprehensively engaged, can make a substantial difference.”

Michael Quinn Patton
Evaluation and Program Planning

"This text brings empowerment evaluation to life, and in doing so it offers all evaluators a large body of relevant concepts and tools for designing, implementing, and assessing evaluation efforts that engage, democratize, and strengthen stakeholder’s self-determination."

Gary J. Skolits, University of Tennessee
University of Tennessee

"This twenty year follow-up to the original, provides even better and richer stories about the versatility and utility of empowerment work in most social contexts.  It expands our understanding of how empowerment evaluation is foundational to any effort to improve and measure growth in any community/social environment."

Robert Shumer, University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

"One of the greatest evaluation innovations of the past two decades has been the development of a professional and systematic approach to self-evaluation called empowerment evaluation.  This book offers you the latest cutting edge understanding of this powerful innovation and evaluation approach.  May you be inspired and empowered as you adventure through the chapters in this outstanding volume!"

Stewart I. Donaldson, Claremont Graduate University, writing in the Foreword
Claremont Graduate University, writing in the Foreword

"Empowerment evaluation is the name given by David Fetterman in his American Evaluation Association (AEA) 1993 Presidential Address to an evaluation theory and practice intended '... to foster improvement and self-determination'...Empowerment evaluation [is] of the people, for the people, and very much by the people. Our role as evaluators [is] to be a critical friend, a coach, and a source of technical assistance when it [is] requested by the self-evaluating communities and organizations. No wonder that in 1993 'conversations and arguments spilled out into the hallways'...Empowerment evaluation and its leaders have received AEA’s highest accolades, such as the Myrdal Evaluation Practice Award (awarded to Fetterman in 1995 and Kaftarian in 1996), the Outstanding Publication Award (Wandersman in 2008), and the Lazarsfeld Evaluation Theory Award (Fetterman in 2000) as well as other recognition...Each chapter giving a case instance explicitly connects the 10 principles of empowerment evaluation to the processes, decision-making, participation, utilization, and other aspects of the evaluations reported...the results of more than 25 years of dedicated hard work and diligent thought are being shared with us. My recommendation remains, unequivocally and appreciatively: This book belongs on our shelves. Get it, read it, and, as appropriate, use it."

Lois-ellin Datta, Datta Analysis, Kailua Kona, HI, USA
American Journal of Evaluation

A useful resource for teaching students how to put the concept of empowerment into practice in analysis

Dr Nicola Margaret Banks
Institute of Development Policy and Management, Univ. of Manchester
November 4, 2015

not technical enough

Professor Telisa Stewart
Preventive Medicine, Suny Upstate Univ
November 20, 2015
Key features



  • Every chapter of the book is completely updated and/or new. Together, the chapters provide greater conceptual clarity and methodological specificity.
  • All case examples are new and range from a $15 million digital divide initiative to tobacco prevention programs in the United States to a $20 million integration of technology into education initiative in a school district to small-scale settings in local communities.
  • A new emphasis on capacity building is reflected throughout the book and is indicated by this edition’s new subtitle.
  • Principles that guide empowerment evaluation are included, along with tools and instruments for putting the approach into practice.
  • New international applications of empowerment evaluation demonstrate its use worldwide in countries from Australia to Peru.
  • Examples of empowerment evaluation in practice are drawn from corporate philanthropy, government, academia, and nonprofits.
  • The book now offers a stronger emphasis on the role of accountability and results.
  • The authors summarize the growth of the approach over the last 21 years.



  • The book provides a high level of conceptual sophistication, with topics ranging from theory to specific principles and steps.
  • Significant domestic and international examples highlight the scope, depth, and breadth of approaches and demonstrate what people can do to help themselves when given adequate support and assistance.
  • Concrete case examples of how communities throughout the world have produced results show empowerment evaluation in action.
  • Tools that can be used in empowerment evaluation are included.
  • Reflections concerning where the approach has been and where it is going next conclude the book.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

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