By Dione Hills, CECAN Fellow (evaluating the ‘capacity building’ side of CECAN’s work)
21st January 2019
There has recently been an upsurge of interest in what constitutes ‘Evaluative Thinking’ (ET). One frequently quoted definition of this term (Buckley 2015) refers to ET being “critical thinking applied to contexts of evaluation”[i]. This blog reflects on ways in which ‘evaluative thinking’ and the application of an understanding of complexity to evaluation can be mutually supportive. It also considers ways in which a complexity perspective may need to be enhanced in order to promote true ‘evaluative thinking’.
A recent issue of New Directions for Evaluation(Official Journal of the American Evaluation Association)[ii]brought together a number of papers on this topic. An interesting theme running through these papers (of particularly relevance to those of us involved in CECAN activities) is that evaluative thinking can help evaluators (and their clients) think more clearly about complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity.