What about creative or arts-based approaches?

An evaluator demonstrates ‘creativity’ every time they view an evaluation problem from a fresh perspective, or devises an evaluation approach tailored to a particular context.   While creativity is very definitely not just the province of artists or the arts, there is a growing interest in the use of evaluation methods that use film and visual arts, poetry and creative writing, music, drama and performing arts.

Arts-based methods can be particularly powerful in uncovering hidden perspectives and in empowering participants.  They may also be less intrusive than more clinically-based evaluation tools as they can be inspired by and modeled on the intervention itself. They also involve a number of challenges. For example, the results you get from them (pictures, performances or poems for example) are by nature difficult to interpret and you may require technical skills that are not a part of standard evaluation.

It is particularly important to make sure that any creative evaluation approach you use ‘fits’ the project and the people who are taking part in the evaluation.