Using DoView® within an Empowerment Evaluation approach

1. Empowerment Evaluation is an approach to evaluation focused on empowering those involved

This page is based on discussions with Professor David Fetterman, a key figure in Empowerment Evaluation about how DoView could be used by Empowerment Evaluators. 

2. The flexibility of DoView as a tool lends itself to Empowerment Evaluation

Empowerment evaluators often work in dynamic and innovative ways with groups and organizations. DoView outcomes software is an ideal tool for Empowerment Evaluators to include within their toolkit. It's been designed as a flexible visual discussion tool for helping groups quickly identify their outcomes and how to achieve them. The DoView Visual Planning and Management approach involves a five-step process of: drawing a visual model (an Outcomes DoView) of what the group is seeking; using the model to make sure that there's 'line-of-sight' between priorities and activities; monitoring progress and setting accountabilities; evaluating success; and, visually reporting back on progress. Each of these steps is undertaken around the same visual Outcomes DoView. This means that a group can work with an Empowerment Evaluation facilitator to build a model for one purpose (e.g. planning) but then also use it later for another purpose (e.g. evaluation). This type of flexibility mirrors the fluid way in which Empowerment Evaluators usually work. More on how to do the process here; how to build an Outcomes DoView here; and how to use it for evaluation planning here.

Outcomes DoViews look like the following, they can have many drill-down pages below them as in the subsequent image.

3. The power of the visual

The traditional approach to capturing the results of group planning and similar processes has been to use text-based documents. However such documents are hard to access and, for some community participants, they're also somewhat alienating. DoView builds on the current trend towards leveraging the power of the visual. Empowerment Evaluation already puts significant emphasis on using photos and images to communicate and work with groups. DoView fits naturally into this visually-orientated Empowerment Evaluation context. DoView encourages the extensive use of images within models to bring them to life for the people who create and work with them. DoView was developed on the basis of the belief that 'a picture is worth a thousand words'.

4. Real-time working and ownership of the Outcomes DoView model

DoView has been explicitly designed to support the philosophy central to Empowerment Evaluation that groups should 'own' the evaluation work they do - in this case building a visual model of their program. Firstly, it was designed so that facilitators can easily use it in real-time in front of groups while the group they are working with builds the model. To this end it has a very simple interface which only provides those options that are essential for building a model in real-time in front of a group. This allows an Empowerment Facilitator to concentrate on building the model rather than on trying to run a piece of software. The clean DoView interface also includes large icons so that group participants can see what the facilitator is doing, rather than them feeling that he or she is 'just playing with their piece of software'. In addition, DoView has been designed to help facilitators quickly break their models up into a set of interlinked compact pages. 'Modular' models are much easier for lay people to understand an overall large model spread all over a single page. The modular approach means that the model content can always be seen, and worked with, by the group while it's being data projected. DoView models can also be quickly turned into webpage models and put up on the web using the free Dropbox service. More. This means that they can be rapidly disseminated back to a group following a session. 

5. Rules for building Outcomes DoViews 

DoView allows traditional line-and-arrow logic models to be built. However it's suggested that facilitators working in an Empowerment Evaluation mode (and other contexts where engaging participants is essential) make their models as simple and accessible as possible. One way of keeping modeling simple and accessible is to not to overlay the model with many lines and arrows and divide it up into levels such as inputs, outputs, intermediate outcomes, outcomes, impacts etc. The reason for this is that if participants are going to own the model, it has to speak to them as something they can readily understand rather than a highly technical engineering-type diagram which doesn't have much to do with their reality. In addition, the arguments over what 'level' a box should be put within a model can be distracting and disempowering for participants. When using the model building rules within the DoView Visual Planning and Management approach, modeling can take place at any level either high or low. This means that modeling can follow where group participants what to take it and they can elaborate on whatever level within the model they think will add the most value to their thinking about what they are doing. See how to draw Outcomes DoViews in this way here

If you have any questions about using the DoView approach with the Empowerment Evaluation approach, please post them on the DoView Linkedin Community of Practice, or where more appropriate, email DoView directly. Download the DoView free trial now.

Anyone can use the above material, with acknowledgment, in their own for-profit or not-for-profit consulting work if they, or their clients, are using DoView Software. Anyone can use it to teach anyone else how to use DoView software. If you want to use it for other purposes please contact us at