Ommunity Development in Australia approaches and measurement (6)

Week 6
Community Development in Australia approaches and measurement
Briefly outline a current community development initiative you are aware of in your community. (South Brisbane) Identify the main players, the approach being taken and how it is being evaluated a ie how will they know if it is successful. Is the focus on the process or the outcome? Do you believe it to be a a?power witha? or a a?power overa? approach and how effective do you believe the approach (including the evaluation methodology) is for the community?
Reading this week
References
a?Evaluation for the way we worka? Michael Quinn Patton (2006) a see link below
Theory and Practice in Dialogical Community Development Chapter 3 Transformative Community Processespgs 61 90
There are two different viewpoints in community development, one that suggests the outcome is the most important thing and the other that community development is all about the process, ie the journey or process of community development is more important than the outcome.
We live in a society that has highly developed mechanisms for measuring and evaluating success and achievement in terms of the outcomes produced. It could be argued that society can be seen in terms of being less interested in the process as long as the final end is achieved according to the required specifications.
However for those who believe that process is most important they view the worker who has pre-conceived ideas about outcomes of a project as essentially disempowering the community, since a community development process should facilitate the community to define its own outcomes and should enable residentsa participation in this. Over emphasis of outcomes to be achieved is, in their opinion, taking power and control away from the community.
Westoby and Dowling in your text book describe the differences here as between a?power witha? and a?power overa?.
There are many approaches to community development that frame things differently and do not regard change from below as the only approach to the community development process. This is often particularly true of projects and initiatives that are being driven from a?outsidea?, by federal or state policy directions or philanthropic funding for instance.
Often such projects, with their outcome focus, are shaped by the evaluation methodology they employ ie who determines what success looks like and how success is measured.
In recent times some thinkers have been attempting to bring the two (process and outcome) together with a participatory approach to evaluation and outcome measurement, enabling community members to contribute to determining both what success looks like and how it is measured.
Amongst them is Michael Quinn Pattonas and his Developmental Evaluation approach. You will see a book of this name in your recommended readings list however to get an overview of his approach you can download an article at

Michael-Quinn-Patton-Developmental-Evaluation-2006
Developmental evaluation is designed to be congruent with and nurture emergent, innovative and transformative processes. Michael believes that helping people learn to think evaluatively can make a more enduring impact from an evaluation than use of specific findings generated in that same evaluation.
Developmental evaluation thus refers to long-term, partnering relationships between evaluators and those engaged in innovative initiatives and development.