Questions of evaluation are important to conveners, participants and funders of conflict resolution initiatives. Yet good evaluation is tied to a number of complicated questions concerning what constitutes success and failure in projects that may be multi-dimensional or only part of an effort to settle a larger conflict. Rothman has offered Action Evaluation as a methodology that seeks to incorporate goal setting and evaluation into project designs. He argues that this will improve a project by monitoring the changing nature of goals through the life of a conflict resolution intervention, and action evaluation’s self-conscious attention to goal setting offers a mechanism for developing and committing an intervention to specific internal and external standards of evaluation. This article examines Action Evaluation as a theory of practice, considering its conceptual strengths and examining specific issues of its implementation.

Author Bio(s)

Marc Howard Ross is William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Political Science at Bryn Mawr College and Director of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges. He is the author of numerous books and articles on culture and conflict and is especially interested in the relationship between theories of conflict and the practice of conflict resolution in the area of ethnic conflict.


action evaluation, conflict resolution, goal setting, project monitoring, theory and practice

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