Scope Creep and Purposeful Pivots in Developmental Evaluation

  • Suparna Roy Queen's University
  • Michelle Searle Queen's University
Keywords: developmental evaluation, online learning, higher education, capacity building, complexity theory


This practice note illustrates a situation where, as program evaluators, we crept beyond the provisional boundaries set by our Developmental Evaluation (DE) goals to facilitate learning. Our DE was initially focused on one program which was being designed for online delivery in higher education. During the DE of this program, questions and themes arose which had larger organizational applicability; we were asked to help design a strategic learning session that addressed a large group of stakeholders within which existed the tiny subset of stakeholders engaged in the original DE. This practice note describes how we negotiated the emergent purposes of the DE with the need for intentional pivots within the strategic learning session to serve our intended subset of stakeholders with their project as well as stimulate evaluative thinking within the larger stakeholder group.

Author Biographies

Suparna Roy, Queen's University

Suparna Roy is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education at Queen's University. Her research focuses on cultivating selflessness in students through service- and inquiry-based pedagogies.

Michelle Searle, Queen's University

Dr. Michelle Searle is an assistant professor of Educational Evaluation in the Faculty of Education at Queen's University and a Credentialed Evaluator (CES). Her research focuses on increasing the usefulness of program evaluation through a focus on collaborative evaluation approaches and innovative forms of knowledge dissemination that enhance capacity within organizations. 

Practice Note- English