1.1 Theories of assessment and evaluation
The first form in which theories and paradigms enter the arena of evaluation is as ‘theory about the doing of evaluation’. Here we are implicitly or explicitly drawing on theories and paradigms, plus our personal beliefs and assumptions (in which theories and paradigms play a crucial role anyway) about evaluation. For example, some theories of how organisations ‘learn’ cite evaluation as a process/practice that can play a leading role in creating learning organisations. Meanwhile organisations that campaign for the democratic control of technology, such as Corporate Watch, would argue that wider public participation in evaluation would contribute more generally to a learning society, and that learning from the processes and practices, and outcomes and impacts, of decisions made in the past would better inform decision-making in the future.