Qualitative control: government framework for qualitative evaluation
Kushner, S. (2005) Qualitative control: government framework for qualitative evaluation. Evaluation, 11 (1). pp. 111-122. ISSN 1356-3890
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1356389005053194
In 2003 the British Cabinet Office published a guide to the assessment of qualitative evaluations - principally for use by sponsoring government agencies. This was a significant - possible unique - moment in which qualitative approaches in this most important area of social action were affirmed and promoted by central government - in contrast to central authorities in the USA, for example, some of which have imposed sanctions against qualitative enquiry. This paper provides a balanced analysis and critique of the guide, arguing, for example, that it offers legitimacy to programme evaluation practices that are under frequent threat. However, the paper also argues that the guide suffers from a lack of understanding of evaluation as a professional practice and as a political process. The publication was an opportunity to bring this event to the attention of the evaluation community.