Moving on from interpretivism: an argument for constructivist evaluation
This paper examines the research process in the context of an evaluation of work-based learning. The findings of the evaluation are used to illustrate issues around roles and relationships within interpretivist research where a separation is maintained between the researcher, as investigator, and the participants, as the subject of their investigation. The discussion focuses on: the threatening nature of evaluation and the way in which that affects the process of inquiry and learning; the ways in which people's perceptions of research can act as barriers to the implementation of change; and the consequences of this role separation for practice development. In exploring these issues the paper argues for an approach to evaluation research which (a) emphasizes collaboration, (b) is orientated to change and (c) treats the evaluation process as a learning opportunity through which professionals acquire the skills and knowledge to investigate and advance their own practice.