Evaluation for Improvement: A Seven-Step Empowerment Evaluation Approach

This guide, written by Pamela J. Cox, Dana Keener, Tifanee L. Woodard, & Abraham H. Wandersman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines a seven step process for hiring an evaluator to implement an empowerment evaluation. The process begins with preparing for the hiring and concludes with an assessment of an evaluation to ensure its sustainability. 


"...concerns and experiences with independent evaluation led to the development of participatory evaluation approaches as a way to promote an organization’s use of evaluation for the improvement of its strategies. Although there are many participatory evaluation approaches, empowerment evaluation places an explicit emphasis on building the evaluation capacity of individuals and organizations so that evaluation is integrated into the organization’s day-to-day management processes. Through empowerment evaluation, both individual and organizational evaluation capacity are increased through a “learn-by-doing” process, whereby organizations and their staff evaluate their own strategies. Specifically, organizations hire an evaluator to work with them in conducting an evaluation of their strategies. Rather than evaluating an organization’s strategies and presenting an evaluation “report card,” empowerment evaluators coach individuals and organizations through an evaluation of their own strategy(ies) by providing them with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to conduct just such an evaluation."


  • Empowerment Evaluation: An Overview 11
  • Principles of Empowerment Evaluation 11
  • Step 1: Preparing for the Hiring Process 23
  • Step 2: Writing a Job Announcement 31
  • Step 3: Finding Potential Empowerment Evaluators 39
  • Step 4: Assessing the Candidates 45
  • Step 5: Writing An Evaluation Contract 55
  • Step 6: Building an Effective Relationship With Your Evaluator 61
  • Step 7: Assessing and Sustaining the Evaluation 65
  • Appendix A: Resources for General Evaluation and Empowerment Evaluation 73
  • Appendix B: Worksheets for Hiring an Empowerment Evaluator 75
  • Appendix C: Sample Hiring Committee Confidentiality Statement 89
  • Appendix D: Sample Job 90
  • Appendix E: Sample Request For Proposals 91
  • Appendix F: Sample Interview Questions 93
  • Appendix G: Sample Budget and Narrative for an Evaluation Team 95


Cox PJ, Keener D, Woodard T, Wandersman A. (2009) Evaluation for Improvement: A Seven Step Empowerment Evaluation Approach for Violence Prevention Organizations: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/evaluation_improvement-a.pdf

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