Evaluation within a policy-making and contracting culture reflections on practice
Authors: Van Teijlingen, E. and Huby, G.
This chapter is based primarily on one of the author’s (Edwin van Teijlingen’s) experiences as a researcher evaluating over ten different organisations and projects concerned with HIV/AIDS prevention and care, together with organisations involved in prevention of drugs, alcohol and tobacco abuse in Scotland in the tenyear period from 1987 to 1997. At the Department of Sociology, University of Aberdeen, Edwin was involved in the evaluation of Grampian Smokebusters and an alcohol rehabilitation centre funded by the Church of Scotland. In the early 1990s, as a researcher with Lothian Health Board’s Centre for HIV/AIDS and Drug Studies (CHADS), he participated in a number of evaluations of statutory and voluntary organisations in the HIV/AIDS and drug field in Lothian. In the mid-1990s he returned to Aberdeen where he participated in an evaluation of the Ayrshire and Arran’s Smokebusters Project and a drug agency in Shetland. Together, we carried out an action-research project which involved the evaluation of co-ordination of services for people with HIV in Lothian (Huby et al. 1995), although this chapter does not draw directly on this material. Our experience has provided us with insights into the social processes around evaluation and the links between evaluation and policy-making. Our aim in this chapter is to critically examine assumptions and realities around these links.