Review: Christine Schwarz (2006). Evaluation as Modern Ritual: On the Ambivalence of Societal Rationalisation Using the Example of Virtual University Projects / Udo Kuckartz, Thorsten Dresing, Stefan Rädiker & Claus Stefer (2007). Qualitative Evaluation

  • Christian Lüders Deutsches Jugendinstitut
Keywords: evaluation, qualitative evaluations research, evaluation as ritual, functions of evaluation, evaluation of teaching, practical guide, MAXQDA


Evaluation is a term enjoying increasing popularity in German-speaking regions, a trend verified by two recent publications. One is a study by Christine SCHWARZ devoted to the issue of the social functions of evaluations; the other is a volume edited by Udo KUCKARTZ, Thorsten DRESING, Stefan RÄDIKER, and Claus STEFER, which seeks to present a concept with practical relevance for qualitative evaluations. While to their credit both publications have helped to put this issue onto the German-speaking agenda, the specific desiderata of each are clear. Building upon a qualitative study of the functions of evaluations in the domain of university e-learning and drawing upon the concept of rituals, Christine SCHWARZ formulates a wide-ranging critique of evaluations under the conditions of the New Public Management. She stresses the ambivalences of the processes of rationalisation associated with evaluations. The book provides a rich and wide array of citations for the basic critique of evaluations. However, for those who seek to delve more seriously into the practical and social-theoretical implications of the evaluation boom, the book is a missed opportunity since it puts preconceptions before empirical findings. Against the background of a qualitative university course evaluation Udo KUCKARTZ, Thorsten DRESING, Stefan RÄDIKER, and Claus STEFER outline a practical guide and present a way that qualitative evaluations can be carried out in a short time with the aid of MAXQDA. Regrettably the book fails to live up to the promise of its title. It does not provide an entry into the practice of qualitative evaluations, but, at best, provides insights into the practical relevance of the procedures selected within the framework of the study while documenting how MAXQDA can be used in the context of qualitative evaluations. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs080273


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Author Biography

Christian Lüders, Deutsches Jugendinstitut
Christian LÜDERS ist Leiter der Abteilung "Jugend und Jugendhilfe" am Deutschen Jugendinstitut in München. Arbeitsschwerpunkte: Kinder- und Jugendhilfeforschung, Methodologie qualitativer Sozialforschung und Evaluationsforschung, Theorie der Sozialpädagogik, Theorie pädagogischen Wissens, Wissenschaftsforschung. In FQS findet sich von Christian LÜDERS der Rezensionsaufsatz "Evaluation als praktische Hermeneutik – oder: Der weite und steinige Weg von einer Theorie der Praxis zur Praxis der Evaluation" ( (zu Thomas A. Schwandt: Evaluation Practice Reconsidered)