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    Fit for measure? Evaluation in community development

    Ardle, Oonagh Mc and Murray, Una (2020) Fit for measure? Evaluation in community development. Community Development Journal, 56 (3). pp. 432-448. ISSN 0010-3802

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    Community development is a process where people concerned with social and environmental justice act together as engaged and active citizens1 to change their collective circumstances. A concern to deliver change through these processes raises the questions: How do we know if our work is effective? What do we mean by and how do we assess outcomes? What ‘evidence’ will help us articulate and improve how we do our work? Over the past decades, there has been a growing trend globally towards evaluation to understand and improve practice. Nevertheless, there is a lack of clarity about, and application of, appropriate frameworks for community development evaluation (Motherway, 2006; CDF, 2010; Whelan et al., 2019). Drawing on current practice, this paper explores challenges, principles and methods for evaluation in community development. We argue that ‘measurement’ requires a clear understanding and agreement of community development purpose and processes, including recognition of community as within and beyond place. Drawing on international evaluation criteria and models, we conclude that community development work could learn from these, as long as communities are in central decision-making roles. We offer suggestions for principles to inform evaluation efforts in community development, suggesting that good community development processes and associated outcomes represent in themselves a theory of change.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: evaluation; community development;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Applied Social Studies
    Item ID: 16080
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Oonagh Mc Ardle
    Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2022 10:56
    Journal or Publication Title: Community Development Journal
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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