How to Implement Context-Sensitive Evaluation Approaches in Countries with still Emerging Evaluation Cultures

Susanne Buehrer, Evanthia Kalpazidou Schmidt, Dorottya Rigler, Rachel Palmen


Evaluation cultures and evaluation capacity building vary greatly across the European Union. Western European countries, such as Austria, Germany, Denmark and Sweden, have been termed as leading countries in the evaluation as they have built up well-established evaluation cultures and carry out systematic evaluations of programmes and institutions. In contrast, in Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries, efforts continue to establish evaluation practices and further develop the current evaluation culture. In Hungary, for example, an established research and innovation evaluation practice does not exist, not one specifically considering gender equality in research and innovation evaluations with the exception of research and innovation programmes financed by the EU Structural Funds. Based on the results of a Horizon 2020 project, we apply a context-sensitive evaluation concept in Hungary that enables program owners and evaluators to develop a tailor-made design and impact model for their planned or ongoing gender equality interventions. The development of this evaluation was based on a thorough analysis of the literature and 19 case studies, building on documentary analysis and semi-structured interviews. The article shows that this evaluation approach is applicable also in countries with a certain catch-up demand of the existing overall evaluation culture. The special feature of the presented evaluation approach is, on the one hand, that the evaluation is context-sensitive. On the other hand, this approach makes it possible not only to depict effects on gender equality itself, but also to anticipate effects on research and innovation. Such effects can, for example, be a stronger orientation of research towards societal needs, which makes it particularly interesting for private companies.


evaluation, impact assessment, emerging evaluation cultures, gender equality, private sector.

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"Public Policy and Administration" ISSN online 2029-2872 / ISSN print 1648-2603