Alternative Roles of Evaluation by Risk Management: Development of an Evaluation Plan for a Nonresidential Demand-Side Resource Acquisition Program 1
Rick Kunkle and Vince Schueler
Editors' Note: The authors explore the use of risk management as an analytic framework for shaping program outcomes through process evaluation. This is a desirable objective for reasons of both time and cost. The problem is one of confirming (from an auditing perspective) or maximizing (from a quality assurance perspective) the amount of resources generated through demand-side strategies. The perspective underlying the use of process evaluation involves the difficulties of measuring demand-side resource generation The authors conceptualize these difficulties as risks and, through three brief case studies, show how three different organizations address these risks through process evaluation and link the results to program performance. The case studies illustrate the impact of organizational perspective on evaluation design. The examples also illustrate the very important point that choices in evaluation design are seldom neutral. Because budgets of time and money are always limited, only some of the many possibly important issues that evaluation could explore can actually be examined. Evaluation design chooses which of them will be emphasized, at the expense of others.