ASTK15657U SUMMER16: Evaluation Society Revisited

Volume 2015/2016


Bachelorlevel: 10 ECTS

Masterlevel: 7,5 ECTS


The course focuses on the anatomy of the contemporary evaluation society and takes a fresh, critical look at all its key components, such as “values”, “methods”, “evidence”, and “utilization” of evaluation.  The understanding of contemporary evaluation will be situated in the broader context of political and organizational frameworks.


The student will be able to pinpoint and describe key issues in evaluation. The student will be able to account for the present status of the discussion in the literature about these issues.

The student will be able to analyze exemplary evaluations or aspects hereof in light of the theoretical perspectives covered in the course.

The student will be in position to prepare the broad conceptual framework for a theoretical and/or empirical analysis of an evaluative phenomenon of potential use in a master´s thesis.


- definitions of evaluation

- evaluation as social construction

- evaluation as a socio-historical phenomenon

- the role of theory in evaluation

- values and valuing in evaluation

- evidence and the use of evidence

- constitutive effects of evaluation

- evaluation in organizations

- the politics of evaluation

- empirical research on evaluation: trends, findings and gaps


Learning Outcome

To account for the present academic debates about key concepts and issues that are central for an understanding of contemporary evaluation as a social and political phenomenon, thereby contributing to a well-reflected and critical engagement in evaluation

Peter Dahler-Larsen (2012): The Evaluation Society. Stanford University Press

Thomas Schwandt (2014): Evaluation Foundations Revisited. Stanford University Press.

Plus articles, in sum app. 1200 pages of literature. 

Students have completed a course on methods in the social sciences. Students have an intellectual interest in evaluation and are willing to go “all-in” in accordance with the intensive format of this course.
Lectures, discussions, exercises. The intense format of the course does not allow time for student´s own engagement in conducting their own evaluations, but it does allow for intense and focused, interactive engagement with issues and exercises. The will be mandatory web-based assignments before and after the intense lessons.
The lessons take place one week in August. The lessons will be supplemented by web-based assignments before and after the lessons. In sum, the workload will be comparable to a regular seminar. The intense format makes it possible to invite Thomas Schwandt as co-teacher. Thomas is an internationally renowned thought leader in evaluation, and author of a new book in the field.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Total
  • 28
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assesment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner