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Concern-Focused Evaluation for Ambiguous and Conflicting Policies: An Approach From the Environmental Field

Abstract : Environment and sustainable development show how policies are becoming ever more complex and ambiguous. This trend calls for new evaluation approaches. They need to be more clearly focused on specific, explicit concerns. They must be driven by a strategic concept of use to overcome the vulnerability to manipulation of many integrative, essentially procedural, approaches to policy making and evaluation. This article presents a conceptual framework for such evaluations and a four-step approach: defining the focal concern; developing criteria and synthesizing observations on the extent to which the focal concern is met; identifying and assessing all policies contributing to this outcome; and complementing this with the evaluation of policies specifically aimed at meeting the focal concern. Examples are taken essentially from wetland-related policies in France and Senegal. The article discusses how this approach tackles some crucial issues in evaluation research and practice and advocates closer connections between evaluation and critical research on policies.
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Laurent Mermet, Raphael Bille, Maya Leroy. Concern-Focused Evaluation for Ambiguous and Conflicting Policies: An Approach From the Environmental Field. American Journal of Evaluation, SAGE Publications, 2010, 31 (2), pp.180--198. ⟨10.1177/1098214010366047⟩. ⟨hal-00715465⟩

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