The place of power in evaluation is an interesting question to ponder: it is somehow everywhere and yet simultaneously nowhere. Power relations could arguably be the single biggest influence on how an evaluation is designed, undertaken and experienced: power often decides the questions that an evaluation is seeking to answer, and how it goes about answering them. Yet in the results, or the write up – particularly of large scale, ‘heavyweight’ impact studies and service evaluations, these power relations are rarely explicitly acknowledged. This is despite acknowledging that many go into the evaluation ‘profession’ precisely because they wish to amplify the voices of those who are seldom heard or listened to, and to redress some of the power imbalances that persist.
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