Empowerment Evaluation: A Practical Strategy for Promoting Stakeholder Inclusion and Process Ownership

Carl John Sheperis, Bryan Bayles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Empowerment Evaluation is an evolving approach based in empowerment theory, self-determination theory, and evaluation capacity building theory. This strategy prioritizes a wrap-around approach that situates program stakeholders at the center of evaluation activities and collaborators in the development of many key processes. By adopting an empowerment evaluation approach, all stakeholders are subjected to an immersive learning experience which culminates in pride in ownership over the initiatives. In this article, we introduce the underlying principles of the three-step empowerment evaluation framework (Fetterman, Empowerment evaluation (pp. 20–42). SAGE Publications, Inc., 2015) and provide examples that can guide evaluation capacity building for programs and organizations. We illustrate how evaluators can assist programs and organizations in developing a mission, taking stock of their current status, and planning for the future. We provide a case example of an empowerment evaluation of an autism services collaborative using the three-step framework. Implications for evaluators of counseling and mental health programs are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-21
Number of pages10
JournalCounseling Outcome Research and Evaluation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • assessment
  • counseling programs
  • Empowerment
  • evaluation
  • evaluation capacity
  • self-determination theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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