The centrality of practice to evaluation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is a strong tendency for evidence-based approaches to social practices to view these practices as imperfect devices for delivering social services. Practices are regarded as in need of repair by evaluation (and research) that can deliver the necessary science-based solution to the problems of practice. This article presents a different view of practices as material and linguistic events in which activities and relationships are constituted and unfold in interaction and in which people change and develop, and it argues for restoring this view of practice to evaluation. The article discusses two different ways in which notions of evidence based, practice, and evaluation are related and suggests what a genuinely practice-oriented approach to evaluation entails.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-105
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Evaluation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2005


  • Evidence based
  • Practical knowledge
  • Practice
  • Science based

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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