Development evaluation is a booming business often seen as a development activity in its own right. Yet, not every actor in the field engages with evaluation. This is primarily due to inadequacies in time, data, resources and expertise. These challenges are prevalent among small nonprofits that arguably stand most in need to appraise their extensive efforts. In an accountability-focused environment, these organizations not only fail to assess adequately the impact of their work but also to evaluate reflectively their structure and implementation process. In response, the sociology and international studies departments at Brigham Young University set up an internship that trains students in evaluation techniques and then contracts their services to nonprofits that struggle to systematically evaluate their programs. Data collected from the student-evaluators and nonprofits showed that the evaluations influenced the organizations by helping the personnel learn, reflect on, discuss, and adjust their programs. In addition to finding evidence of the factors, mechanisms, and change processes that influence an evaluation's effect, this study extends the conceptual models within the influence literature by outlining the enabling role of students in contexts with high capacity constraints.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Sociology
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Buttars, Rilee A., "For PEAT's Sake: The Influence of Student-Led Evaluations on Small Nonprofits" (2014). Theses and Dissertations. 4141.
evaluation influence, nonprofits, non-governmental organizations, organizational learning, process assessment, developmental evaluation, student-evaluators