Policy Evaluation and Learning. Van der Knaap, P. Evaluation, 1(2):189 --216, July, 1995.
Policy Evaluation and Learning [link]Paper  doi  abstract   bibtex   
But what experience and history teach us is this, that nations and governments have never learned anything from history. (G. W. F. Hegel, 1837, cited in Feyerabend 1978) Contemporary literature on policy evaluation challenges the 'traditional', rational-objectivist model of policy evaluation. Instead, an argumentative- subjectivist approach is forwarded, conceiving of policy-making as an ongoing dialogue, in which both governmental and societal actors contest their views on policy issues by exchanging arguments. It is argued that, through constructive argumentation, policy actors, networks or advocacy coalitions may arrive at moral judgements on policy issues and, hopefully, at 'better' policies and ways of delivering those policies. The paradigm shift from the rational-objectivist model to the argumentative-subjectivist approach has implications for the way policy evaluation is studied as a means of institutionalized policy-oriented learning; the searching process of improving and perfecting public policy and its underlying normative assumptions through the detection and correction of perceived imperfections. Policy- oriented learning can be studied from a cybernetic control, a cognitive development and a social-constructivist perspective. Within policy-oriented argumentation and negotiation—the discursive processes that constitute the roots of policy-oriented learning—there may (still) be a need for methodologically sound assessments of the cost-effectiveness or 'quality' of policy measures. Accepting this premise, we advance an integrated learning strategy, in which the 'traditional', rational-objectivist role of evaluating institutions may well serve to complement more argumentative-oriented perspectives.
@article{van_der_knaap_policy_1995,
	title = {Policy {Evaluation} and {Learning}},
	volume = {1},
	url = {http://evi.sagepub.com/content/1/2/189.abstract},
	doi = {10.1177/135638909500100205},
	abstract = {But what experience and history teach us is this, that nations and governments have never learned anything from history. (G. W. F. Hegel, 1837, cited in Feyerabend 1978)
Contemporary literature on policy evaluation challenges the 'traditional', rational-objectivist model of policy evaluation. Instead, an argumentative- subjectivist approach is forwarded, conceiving of policy-making as an ongoing dialogue, in which both governmental and societal actors contest their views on policy issues by exchanging arguments. It is argued that, through constructive argumentation, policy actors, networks or advocacy coalitions may arrive at moral judgements on policy issues and, hopefully, at 'better' policies and ways of delivering those policies. The paradigm shift from the rational-objectivist model to the argumentative-subjectivist approach has implications for the way policy evaluation is studied as a means of institutionalized policy-oriented learning; the searching process of improving and perfecting public policy and its underlying normative assumptions through the detection and correction of perceived imperfections. Policy- oriented learning can be studied from a cybernetic control, a cognitive development and a social-constructivist perspective. Within policy-oriented argumentation and negotiation—the discursive processes that constitute the roots of policy-oriented learning—there may (still) be a need for methodologically sound assessments of the cost-effectiveness or 'quality' of policy measures. Accepting this premise, we advance an integrated learning strategy, in which the 'traditional', rational-objectivist role of evaluating institutions may well serve to complement more argumentative-oriented perspectives.},
	number = {2},
	urldate = {2010-12-13},
	journal = {Evaluation},
	author = {Van der Knaap, Peter},
	month = jul,
	year = {1995},
	pages = {189 --216}
}
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