Decentred evaluation that empowers: Incorporating a double-storied approach to evaluation interviewing and story production — Sonja Pastor


In 2015, the organisation in which I work as a counsellor introduced a new strategy to evaluate the outcomes of its services. All operational staff are now required to conduct two digital evaluation interviews per year, some of which will be turned into visual evaluation stories that recount a person’s experience of interacting with our service. Eager to contribute narrative ideas, I incorporated the narrative practice of double listening as a framework to elicit people’s experiences as service users. Double listening is a narrative approach to asking questions which focuses not just on the problem story but also on the person’s response to the problem, eliciting their skills, values and knowledge in responding to the problem. Applying double listening to evaluation interviewing is a way of foregrounding not only the voice but also the agency of service users in representing any change they have experienced, positioning service providers as collaborators in the process of change. A double-listening framework supports the creation of evaluation stories that could have value as therapeutic documents, benefiting the person whose story they told as well as meeting organisational requirements. This paper presents an evaluation interview that I conducted, and demonstrates how qualitative interview-based evaluation practice can benefit participants as well as practitioners and organisations.