Piet Verschuren, born in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, in 1944. Ph.D. from Tilburg University. Associate Professor of Research Methodology at the Radboud University Nijmegen.
Fellow (1 September 1996 – 31 January 1997)
The general topic of my work at the NIAS was evaluation methodology. Most of the work in this field has been done on quantitative summative goal based evaluation in the domain of public policy and policy administration, whereas my book will hopefully contribute to two rather underdeveloped aspects of evaluation methodology. Firstly this is the formative and goal free evaluation by means of qualitative and interactive research methods. Secondly I intend to contribute to the evaluation of interventions at the micro and meso level of organisations.
By and large I feel I made good progress towards these goals. Methodological reflection and discussions thus far resulted in: 1. pitfalls and shortcomings of summative evaluation when it is not completed with a reflection on the value of the intervention goals and on the real needs of the target population; 2. insights into the nature and requirements of formative (plan and process) as opposed to summative (product) evaluation; 3. an overview of differences and communalities of evaluation on the macro (state) and the meso/micro level (organisation); 4. foundations of a theory on evaluation-criteria, on the basis of which formative statements can be produced; 5. possibilities and advantages of qualitative evaluation as opposed to the use of quantitative research methods.
The following still remains to be done. A profound methodological and ethical reflection on some central concepts such as value, merit, worth, needs, the intrinsic value of an intervention, and on the basis of this the development of insights and procedures for goal free evaluation. I will continue to work on this project together with László Zsolnai. To complete the book I also still have to develop insights and procedures for designing evaluation research on the meso and micro level of organisations, and offer an overview of examples in different fields.