Dialogue as a Democratizing Evaluation Method

Katherine Ryan, Lizanne Destefano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Looking at dialogue from the intersection of theory and practice, we present our view of dialogue as a democratizing practice. Using a constructivist grounded theory approach, we compared and contrasted our notions against data we collected. Our analyses of the two case studies suggest power relations, the identity of the evaluator, and the skills needed to facilitate dialogue, are problematic, including virtual dialogue. The evaluator needs to be more than an expert. Knowing the theory of dialogue in evaluation was not sufficient to understand these two cases. Instead we saw in each instance, the evaluator drew on tacit skills to keep the dialogue going. These skills were developed in the ‘thick of practice’. But more importantly, these cases show how the evaluator must privilege the dialogical process to keep it going.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-203
Number of pages16
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2001


  • deliberative democracy
  • dialogical genres
  • education
  • tacit skills
  • virtual dialogue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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