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Title:Understanding and defining situational awareness and interpersonal competence as essential evaluator competencies
Author(s):Garcia, Gabriela Liseth
Director of Research:Greene, Jennifer C.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Greene, Jennifer C.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Schwandt, Thomas A.; Stevahn, Laurel A; DeStefano, Lizanne
Department / Program:Educational Psychology
Discipline:Educational Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Situational awareness
Interpersonal competence
Evaluator competency frameworks
Abstract:“What constitutes a competent evaluator?” This question has been a topic of discussion and lively debates within evaluation communities around the world. In the past two decades, numerous evaluation organizations, associations and societies have moved towards developing and using evaluator competency frameworks. Given that multiple frameworks have been developed worldwide, 12 thus far, we are now at a point where it is no longer a question of can evaluator competencies be identified, but how do we move forward with revising, understanding, and using these frameworks not only in practice, but also in the education and training of evaluation. As King and Stevahn (2015) recently noted, “...regardless of who developed [these competency frameworks] or how, it is unlikely that anyone would disagree that they could benefit from additional developmental work” (p. 31). As such, this study aimed to inform and advance this conversation on evaluator competence. In particular, the aim of this study was to examine the meaning of two dimensions of practice, interpersonal competence (IC) and situational awareness (SA), from the perspective of experienced program evaluators. A qualitative research design (Merriam, 2009) utilizing semi-structured interviews was best suited for this study. Based on the responses of 13 interviewed evaluators, five main findings emerged. First, evaluators pointed to three critical aspects of SA which included intentionally learning about a project, attending to the cultural dimensions of an evaluation, and understanding stakeholder perspectives on and expectations for evaluation. Second, evaluators identified two important aspects of IC, including purposefully engaging in ongoing communication with the project being evaluated and mindfully framing and sharing evaluative information. Data analysis also revealed two factors that informed how evaluators discussed these aspects of IC and SA. These factors include evaluators’ 1) professional dispositions and 2) reputation and experiential knowledge. These factors were important to understand because evaluators discussed IC and SA through their professional lenses that were based, in part, on their dispositions and experiences. In closing, implications for evaluation education and training and future research are discussed.
Issue Date:2016-11-18
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Gabriela Garcia
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-03-01
Date Deposited:2016-12

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