The design of the evaluation apparatus CappWag

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The capability approach covers vast field of research, made of intricate definitions and practical uses. From its first outline at the end of the 1980s, it evolved into today’s prolific field of study, strengthened and boosted by Sen’s Nobel Prize in Economics Sciences in 1998. Throughout this time, its main concepts have developed and the approach has been enriched by the work of scholars coming from numerous different disciplines.
In this chapter, we present the main definitions and practical applications related to the capability approach, and discuss how it provides a relevant theoretical framework to evaluate participatory processes related to WRM. The chapter is structured as follows: the first section gives an overview of the background of the capability approach and its academic, political, economical and social uses. The second section presents the main concepts that constitutes the core of the capability approach and specifies the definitions that we will adopt in this thesis. The third section explores the links between capabilities, participation and sustainable development. The fourth and fifth sections develop the operationalisation possibilities envisioned for the approach and discusses the various challenges to overcome in order to build a practical evaluation framework. Finally, the sixth section addresses the main limitations and criticism that the capability approach have received.
The definitions and uses related to the capability approach evolved through the last thirty years.
We recount in this section its historical evolution and uses.


In 1979, Sen gave, at Stanford University, USA, the Tanner lectures on human values, called “Equality of What?” Sen raised in his speech the essential question of which attributes should be equalized among a society’s members. The metric used to perform interpersonal comparisons is crucial for it leads to the conditions’ specification in which an individual is considered disadvantaged compared to the rest of the society. Should these comparisons be built on wealth, or on a broader range of resources? Should it take well-being or happiness into account? (Clément, Le Clainche, and Serra 2008). In his lecture, Sen discussed and questioned the relevance of equality measurement through primary goods or marginal or total utility and “outlined for the first time his conception of capabilities” (Deneulin and Shahani 2009a, 31).
The capability approach differentiates itself from utilitarianism, which advocates the logic of rational choice theory, based on the search for well-being maximization and focuses on resource accumulation, as well as income and amounts of expenditure. According to utilitarianism, every moral action should exclusively aim at pursuing the happiness of the greater number. A moral decision should aim at maximizing collective well-being, that is to say the sum of individuals’ utility (Clément, Le Clainche, and Serra 2008). As Robeyns (2005, 96–97) explains it:
“Sen is concerned not only with the information that is included in a normative evaluation, but also with the information that is excluded. The non-utility information that is excluded by utilitarianism could be a person’s additional physical needs due to being physically disabled, but also social or moral issues, such as the principle that men and women should be paid the same wage for the same work. For a utilitarian, this principle has no intrinsic value, and men and women should not be paid the same wage as long as women are satisfied with lower wages. But it is counter-intuitive, Sen argues that such principles would not be taken into account in our moral judgements”.
The capability approach also draws on Rawls’ justice theory, which builds on theoretical and idealistic principles and advocates the use of “primary goods” (Rawls 1971). According to Rawls, primary goods are the goods that every person is supposed to desire. They can be natural (such as health, intelligence, imagination, etc.) or social (such as rights, liberties, and opportunities; income and wealth; and the social bases of self-respect). Individuals are assumed to want more rather than less of these goods. Therefore, it would be possible to evaluate individuals’ well-being according to what primary goods they have or do not have (Wenar 2013).
Sen criticizes Rawls’ use of primary goods as an answer to the “equality of what?” question because they are means and not intrinsic ends, and therefore would not serve for interpersonal comparisons and would not be able to account for the wide scope of human beings’ diversity. For Sen, the amounts and kinds of goods needed to reach the same level of well-being is different for every person (Sen 1980; 1992; 2004b; in Robeyns 2005).
Sen consequently seeks to establish a theory that could define justice based on concrete situations and focus on achieving chosen objectives, rather than on accessing the means to achieve those objectives. He also aims at presenting persons as “reasoners” with the right to make choices, that is to say, as “diverse, thinking, adaptative agents” (Gasper 2007, 356). According to Sen, these issues should be addressed through the thorough analysis of the “real freedoms” available to people to live a valued life and to choose between different alternatives of « being » and « doing ». These real freedoms then allow people the access specific resources, or opportunities, that they can then transform into achievements, depending on which goals they value (Sen 2000b). The concept of capabilities is the central element of this theory. It allows going beyond established approaches tackling welfare, inequality and poverty and instead, focuses on livelihood means (Bonnard 2015). In this way, the capability approach represents an alternative to measuring inequality between people and well-being beyond primary goods or marginal or total utility (Sen, Nussbaum, and Glover 1995; Sen 2004b; in Robeyns 2005). Sen considers freedoms both as ends and as means of development (which is why one of his book is called “Development as freedom”).
Several scholars have attempted to develop, based on the capability approach, a broad normative framework for the evaluation of individual wellbeing and social arrangements (Frediani 2010). As Sen (1992, 5; in Deneulin and Shahani 2009a, 31) puts it, “A person’s capability to achieve functionings that he or she has reason to value provides a general approach to the evaluation of social arrangements, and this yields a particular way of viewing the assessment of equality and inequality”. Through this framework, poverty is consequently conceived as a deprivation of capabilities; inequality as the inequitable distribution of capabilities and vulnerability as the deficiency of certain capabilities. Empowerment is understood as the expansion of the space of people’s capabilities (Makkaoui and Dubois 2010).
When working on human development and well-being, priority should thus be given to an increase in the effective freedoms that people have access to, in order to achieve prioritized outcomes (Gasper 2007). As Deneulin & Shahani (2009a, 31) express it, “the key idea of the capability approach is that social arrangements should aim to expand people’s capabilities”. In this perspective, assessing development means being able to analyze the evolution of people’s freedom through time.


As Robeyns (2006, 371) puts it, “the capability approach is extremely interdisciplinary, perhaps even post-disciplinary”. It provides an alternative framework of thought for a wide range of issues related to people’s well-being and social arrangements, as well as policy-making and social changes (Stewart and Deneulin 2002; Robeyns 2005).
In the past two decades, the capability approach has been more and more studied and appropriated by scholars and policy-makers (Robeyns 2005). This interest led to the publication in 1990 by the United Nations Development Programme of the first annual Human Development Report, partly based on the capability approach in which human development was defined as “both the process of widening people’s choices and the level of their achieved well-being” (UNDP 1990, 10). In this report, human development is considered as a double process, encompassing “the formation of human capabilities such as improved health, knowledge and skills – [and] the use people make of their acquired capabilities – for leisure, productive purposes or being active in cultural, social and political affairs” (UNDP 1990, 10). It is in this vision of development as the enhancement and the expansion of people’s capabilities to help them achieve the life they value that Sen’s core idea of capabilities and agency lies (Sen 2000b; Ibrahim 2006; Deneulin and Shahani 2009a). Since then, more than five hundreds regional or national Human Development Reports have been published throughout the world, using similar analytical frameworks (Robeyns 2006).
The capability approach is nowadays used in many fields, from development studies to welfare economics, social policy-making and political philosophy (Robeyns 2005). Robeyns (2006) identifies nine main fields of application of the capability approach: (i) general assessments of human development at the national level; (ii) assessments of small-scale development projects; analyses to identify the poor in developing countries; (iv) poverty and well-being assessments in developed countries; (v) assessments of disabled people’s deprivation; (vi) assessments of gender inequalities; (vii) theoretical and empirical assessments of public policies; (viii) criticism and assessments of social norms, practices and discourses and (ix) the use of capabilities and functionings as concepts in non-normative research settings (e.g. in ethnographic research or for explanatory analyses).


During the last decade, the capability approach has been applied to sustainable development issues, as seen in the founding work of Leßman (2011), Rauschmayer, Omann and Frühmann (2012) or Ballet et al. (2005; 2011; 2013). Some authors have suggested considering certain environmental conditions (such as a clean air, clean drinking water, a stable climate, etc.) as an independent “meta-capability”, as these are crucial for the development of people’s basic capabilities and intersect them all (Holland 2007, 6; 2012).
Moreover, and as we will discuss it in section 3.2, the capability approach builds on the vision of individuals as beings characterized by the valued capacity to put the interest of the collective before their own. In this regard, people may favor broader perspectives such as the well-being of future generations, or the preservation of natural resources for their intrinsic values, over the interests of their own group and, on this basis, be receptive and engage in sustainable development (Rauschmayer, Omann, and Frühmann 2012; Pelenc, Bazile, and Ceruti 2015).
In order to be sustainable, human development should involve a focus on expending or preserving the freedom of people to take part in the management of their natural environment (as defended by Nussbaum in her list of ten central human functional capabilities – see section 5.1). This is especially true in the current environmental context marked by the impacts of climate change on ecosystems and societies. Several scholars have pointed out the weaknesses in the way the capability approach considers the ecological dimension. Pelenc et al. (2013, 78) for instance state that Sen does not devote any “particular attention […] to environmental issues” and that the capability approach “suffers from a lack of concern for ecological constraints and, consequently, for environmental sustainability”. Nevertheless, the capability approach provides an interesting analytical framework for environmental justice (Ballet, Koffi, and Pelenc 2013) because environmental issues can be evaluated “from the spaces of freedom in time and in space” and because the relationships between human beings are strongly interwoven with their physical environment (Ballet, Koffi, and Pelenc 2013, 33).


Since it was first outlined by Sen in 1979, the capability approach has slowly but surely evolved and enriched itself through the work of many scholars and policy-makers coming from various disciplines and fields of practice. This broadness is a major strength of the capability approach, but it has also led it to become a complex conceptual field, structured around a vocabulary set that keeps evolving. The expansion of the approach has naturally required a series of adjustments and working simplifications, even though several ambiguities and unclear boundaries still remain (Gasper 2007).


Various interpretations of the capability approach and its main concepts exist and cohabit in the literature. It is hence important to define them clearly and specify which definition we retain in this thesis. As summarized by Deneulin and Shahani (2009a), the capability approach revolves around three main concepts: functioning, capability and agency, to which we add resources and conversion factors (see Figure 1 for a schematic illustration of the links between the five concepts).
Figure 1: The five main concepts behind the capability approach at the individual level and their sequential relationship (inspired by Pelenc, Bazile, and Ceruti (2015))
A functioning is a “being” or “doing”, in other words an achieved choice, which a person value and have reason to value.
A capability corresponds to the freedom to achieve these valued “beings” or “doings” that contribute to his or her well-being. Achieved functionings are like the tip of the capability iceberg: both potential and achieved choices are considered by the approach, which is related to “positive freedom”4 (Pelenc, Bazile, and Ceruti 2015, 227), but only achieved functionings are visible to an external observer. Hence the capability approach takes into account what people are and do, as well as what they could be and do if they would have the choice. Examples of capabilities include “being able to be well fed”, or “being able to speak up for one’s rights” (Bakhshi and Dubois 2008)5. The capability approach is related to access to, rather than to achievement of, objective well-being (Gasper 2007). The various types of freedom available to a person are thus both instrumentally and intrinsically valuable (Sen 2000b). The capability set of a person represents the total amount of potential or achieved functionings of this person, in other words, the extent of his or her positive freedom (Robeyns 2005; Gasper 2007). As a result, a person’s capability set consists of several capabilities.
The capability set of a person depends on his or her access to resources and his or her conversion factors. A person’s resources can be material or non-material goods, such as time, money, services, but also human capital, education and knowledge, etc. They could also be defined as people’s endowments and entitlement, such as tools, access to land property rights, granted access to natural areas, etc. (Pelenc et al. 2013; Pelenc, Bazile, and Ceruti 2015). The transformation of those resources into effective capabilities, that is to say their relevance in generating functionings, is affected by a series of conversion factors, which vary from context to context and person to person (Frediani 2010; Chiappero, Salardi, and Scervini 2016).
The conversion factors of a person influence the transformations of resources into capabilities. They can be divided into several categories, such as “personal conversion factors” (for example, metabolism, health condition, sex, age, intelligence, knowledge, network, etc.), “social conversion factors” (for example public policies, social norms, discriminating practices, gender roles, power relations, etc.) and “environmental conversion factors” (for example climate conditions, geographical location, infrastructure, public goods, etc.) (Robeyns 2005, 99; Frediani 2010). Conversion factors could also be described as internal (the agent’s own characteristics, such as psychological and cultural factors) or external (the context within which the agent operates, such as environmental, social, political, cultural factors) (Sen 2000b; Robeyns 2005; Pelenc, Bazile, and Ceruti 2015). Even though there are many ways to classify and organize the different conversion factors available to people, they are all strongly interconnected, “shaping and influencing each other” (Frediani 2010, 179).
Capabilities are anchored in a specific context. A capability can be valid in one context but not in another, depending on the resources and conversion factors available to people, but also to relationships of power among individuals, groups and institutions. There are no absolute capabilities, in the sense that the presence or absence of certain resources or conversion factors for people can strongly impact the existence of capabilities.
Some scholars, such as Frediani (2010), describe this pool of resources, conversion factors and eventually capabilities available to every person as the “capability space” of this person (see Figure 2 below).
Figure 2: An illustration of a capability sequence applied to the individual capability “being able to express oneself in front of a group” (inspired by Pelenc, Bazile, and Ceruti 2015)
Finally, the importance of freedom of choice in the capability approach leads to another core notion, which is the agency of people. It corresponds to the capacity of a person to act, pursue and realize goals in accordance with his or her values (Sen 2000b; Deneulin and Shahani 2009a). Therefore, as Sen puts it (Sen 2000a, 19), an agent is “someone who acts and brings about change and whose achievements can be judged in terms of her own values and objectives”.
Agency freedom also represent a person’s freedom to adhere to values and pursue goals other than his or her own, that is to say beyond his or her own personal well-being (Sen 1985b), and involves notions such as sympathy, generosity or even commitment to others. For Sen, the concept of agency makes people “the driving force of their own development” (Sen 2000a; in Pelenc, Bazile, and Ceruti 2015, 227).
Capabilities and agency are two distinctive but equally important and interdependent aspects of human life (Pelenc, Bazile, and Ceruti 2015). Sen distinguished the two aspects by associating capabilities with the opportunity aspect of freedom (or well-being aspect) and agency to the process aspect of freedom. While the capabilities refer to the capacity to achieve valued “beings” and “doings”, agency is related to people’s capacity to change their own situation and have an impact on their own lives, as well as on the social environment they live in.
Crocker and Robeyns (2009) state that the agency of an individual also reflects its capacity to be an active participant in the process of change, rather than a passive recipient of the provided instructions or assistance. Like so, agency could even be defined as “a special type of capability which underpins the whole process of the capability approach” (Crocker 2007; in Frediani 2010, 180).
It is interesting to note that exercising agency does not necessarily contribute to one’s well-being and might even lead to its reduction (Sen 1992; in Frediani 2010). One example often used to illustrate this point is the case of two persons who are starving and consequently deprived from the functioning of being well-nourished. While the first person who is very poor and cannot afford or access food, lacks the capability of being well-nourished, the second person who, for personal reason (e.g. political reasons), is purposely starving (e.g. during a hunger strike) does possess it (Sen 1985a). This second person is using his or her agency freedom to express a political opinion. Even though this person has the capability of being well-nourished, the choice not to be is voluntary, even if it means lowering his or her achieved well-being (Robeyns 2005).
As Pelenc, Bazile and Ceruti (2015a, 227) puts it, “the normative goal of human development can be subsumed to the improvement of people’s capabilities through the exercise of their agency”. Thus, empowerment could be described as the improvement of people’s agency, a key-factor in the increase of human development.
Sen acknowledges the importance of social interactions in the capability approach, for obtaining a capability is a process dependent on people’s agency, which is in turn strongly reliant on the social opportunities available to people (Sen 2002). He states that “‘no individual can think, choose, or act without being influenced in one way or another by the nature and working of the society around him or her’’ (Sen 2002, 80). He also argues that individuals and the opportunities available to them should not be viewed in isolated terms, for “the options that a person has depend greatly on relations with others and on what the state and other institutions do” (Drèze and Sen 2002, 6). But despite these interdependencies, Sen, and many scholars after him, argues that the capability approach is practicable solely at the individual level. He uses the concept of “socially dependent individual capabilities” to describe capabilities that would appear out of the interactions between agents (Sen 2002, 85). In this frame, collective capabilities would refer to capabilities related to humanity at large, such as, for example, the capability of humanity as a whole to drastically reduce child mortality (Sen 2002; Ibrahim 2006; Deneulin 2006).

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Other scholars have acknowledged the existence of collective capabilities of another sort. Evans (2002) discussed first the concept of collective capabilities, which he related to the way to attain development as freedom for the less privileged and result of collective action. In this perspective, people would attain these collective capabilities through means of structured groups: “Organized collectivities–unions, political parties, village councils, women’s groups, etc.– are fundamental to « people’s capabilities to choose the lives they have reason to value. » They provide an arena for formulating shared values and preferences, and instruments for pursuing them, even in the face of powerful opposition” (Evans 2002, 56). As Stewart (2005) and Ibrahim (2006) emphasized, collective action is reached not only through political or associative groups, but also through more traditional collective structures, such as families, neighborhoods or communities. These newly generated and collective capabilities (see Figure 3) allow “the interacting group of people to carry out things and achieve states of being that would not be possible when acting alone” (Pelenc et al. 2013, 88), or in the words of Ibrahim (2006, 398), “the new choices that the individual alone would neither have nor be able to achieve unless he/she joins a collectivity”.
Figure 3: The five main concepts behind the capability approach at the collective level and their sequential relationship (inspired by Pelenc, Bazile, and Ceruti (2015))
A defining feature of collective capabilities is that they cannot be reduced to a function of the individual capabilities of the group members. Collective capabilities are not simply the aggregation or the average of the individual capabilities of the group members. They can be either superior or inferior to those (Ibrahim 2006; Duray-Soundron 2008). They are inherent to each group and emerge depending on the social interactions taking place among the group, as well as between the group and its direct political, social, cultural, economical environment. As Stewart (2005, 4) puts it, “since people are essentially social their social networks form an important part of their total wellbeing”. For instance, collective capabilities will emerge among a group when agreements or alliances take place. In contrast, collective capabilities might decrease over time or not exist among a group in the case of a disagreement or a conflict among the members of the group, or because of what Stewart has called “the constricting effects of families or communities” (Stewart 2005, 4; Panet and Duray-Soundron 2008).
During a participatory process, people may reach collective capabilities through the exercise of their collective agency. We retain in this thesis the definition proposed by Pelenc et al. (2015a, 229): “collective agency encompasses the capacity of the group to define common goals and the freedom to act to reach the chosen goals”. According to these same authors, a group of people builds collective agency thanks to an “intangible basis” (i.e. interactions between the individual agencies of the persons in the group leading eventually to “the definition of a common goal and a set of shared representations”) and a “tangible basis” (i.e. the pooling of resources and conversion factors in a “common set” available to the group) (Pelenc, Bazile, and Ceruti 2015, 229).
Once the members of a group possess a collective agency and a set of collective capabilities, they can transform them in collective actions, that is to say achieved collective functionings (Pelenc, Bazile, and Ceruti 2015). We illustrate on Figure 4 an example for two collective capabilities.

Table of contents :

General introduction
1. Rationale of this thesis
2. Summary of literature review and research gaps
2.1. What is public participation and why it is important to evaluate it
2.2. The objective of my evaluation and my positioning
3. Research questions
4. Thesis structure and content
Chapter 1 – The capability approach: a theoretical framework to evaluate participatory processes
1. Introduction
2. A history of the capability approach and its academic, political, economical and social impacts
2.1. The first steps of the capability approach
2.2. Academic, political and economical uses
2.3. The capability approach applied to sustainable development and natural resources management
3. The capability approach: main concepts and definitions
3.1. The main concepts behind the capability approach
3.2. A focus on collective capabilities
3.3. A freedom decomposed
3.3.1. The scale of measurement of a collective capability
3.3.2. The three dimensions of a capability
4. The link between the capability aproach and participation
5. The capability approach put into practice
5.1. Theoretical specifications: the selection of valuable capabilities
5.2. Methodological choices: the capability space as the privileged scale to evaluate a participaptory process for water management
5.3. Which capabilities exactly to select? Focus on three capabilities to evaluate
5.3.1. Level of precision and appropriate number of capabilities to evaluate
5.3.2. The selection of capabilities related to collective action for natural resources management
5.3.3. The final three capabilities
6. Existing methodologies to evaluate capabilities: a review
7. Limits of and criticism addressed to the capability approach
8. Conclusion
Chapter 2 – A social experiment to evaluate capabilities
1. Introduction
2. Evaluating a participatory processes for natural resources management: an overview
3. A social experiment based on a role-playing game to evaluate participatory processes: definitions and precedents
3.1. Definitions
3.2. Role-playing games for evaluation: a review
4. The assets of a social experiment to evaluate capabilities
4.1. The controllability of the evaluation tool
4.2. The triangulation of the data
4.3. The transferability of the evaluation tool
4.4. The link between real-life freedoms and game-related freedoms
5. A social experiment to evaluate capabilities in practice: constraints and challenges
5.1. The challenge of an ex ante ex post evaluation
5.2. Other challenges to be tackled during the design of the evaluation tool
5.3. Limitations of the use of a social experiment to evaluate capabilities
6. Conclusion
Chapter 3 – The design of the evaluation apparatus CappWag
1. Introduction
2. Objectives and constraints: turning a game into a measurement tool
2.1. Ensuring the internal validity of the evaluation tool
2.2. Ensuring the external validity of the evaluation tool
2.3. Assumptions underpinning the design process
3. CappWag: A game to measure freedoms (Article “Simulation & Gaming”. Ready-to-use simulations)
3.1. Basic data
3.2. Introduction
3.3. CAPPWAG setting
3.4. The game structure
3.5. The simulation
3.6. Animation and Monitoring
3.7. Facilitator’s guide
4. The design process
4.1. A role-playing game as a space of freedom
4.1.1. Designing a scope of opportunities
4.1.2. The incentives
4.2. The design process of the game settings
4.2.1. A semi-abstract role-playing game
4.2.2. The physical features of the game
4.2.3. A role-playing game designed to measure capabilities
4.2.4. Design trade-offs
4.3. Data collection: the observation process and complementary tracking apparatuses
4.3.1. The external observations
4.3.2. The questionnaire
4.3.3. The debriefing
4.3.4. The individual interviews
5. Conclusion
Chapter 4 – The implementation of CappWag: results and analyses of two case studies
1. Introduction
2. Methodology of analysis
2.1. The scale of measurement of a collective capability
2.2. The three dimensions of a capability
2.3. The construction of the reading grid
2.3.1. Data selection and hierarchy
2.3.2. Qualitative data
2.3.3. Quantitative data
2.4. The differences expected between the ex ante and ex post phases
2.5. Analysis reading (abbreviations, legend, players’ tracking and anonymity)
2.6. CappWag in action: The implementation of CappWag on two case studies
3. The tunisian case study
3.1. Presentation of the Tunisian context
3.2. A synthesis of the state of the capabilities in the two groups
3.3. Analysis of the ex ante workshops
3.3.1. Being able to express oneself in front of a group
Group T1
Group T2
3.3.2. The collective rule-making and rule-implementation
Group T1
Group T2
3.3.3. The collective diagnosis of a problematic situation
Group T1
Group T2
3.3.4. Resources and conversion factors
Group T1
Group T2
3.3.5. A comparison of the ex ante collective capabilities between the two groups
4. The Master’s students case study
4.1. Presentation of the student context
4.1.1. A synthesis of the state of the capabilities for the FIVE groups
4.1.2. Analysis of the ex ante and the ex post workshops
4.2. The ex ante capabilities
4.2.1. Being able to express oneself in front of a group
Group S1
Group S2
Group S4
Group S5
4.2.2. The collective rule-making and rule-implementation
Group S1
Group S2
Group S4
Group S5
4.2.3. The collective diagnosis of a problematic situation
Group S1
Group S2
Group S4
Group S5
4.2.4. Resources and conversion factors
Group S1
Group S2
Group S4
Group S5
4.2.5. A comparison of the ex ante collective capabilities between groups S1, S2, S4 and S5 Collective rule-making and rule-implementation Making a collective diagnosis
4.3. The ex post capabilities
4.3.1. Being able to express oneself in front of a group
Group S1
Group S2
Group S3
Group S4
Group S5
4.3.2. Collective rule-making and rule-implementation
Group S1
Group S2
Group S3
Group S4
Group S5
4.3.3. The collective diagnosis of a problematic situation
Group S1
Group S2
Group S3
Group S4
Group S5
4.3.4. Resources and conversion factors
Group S1
Group S2
Group S3
Group S4
Group S5
4.3.5. A comparison of the ex post collective capabilities between Five groups and their evolution over time The collective rule-making and rule-implementation The collective diagnosis of a problematic situation
4.4. The general impact of the IWRM course on the capability space of students
4.4.1. The impact of the theoretical course and the practical assignment
4.4.2. The impact of the students’ collective works and socialization
5. Conclusion
Chapter 5 – Assessing CappWag, an exploratory tool to evaluate capabilities
1. Introduction
2. Discussing the methodology of analysis of our results: the three dimensions of a capability and the treatment of the collected data
3. The design of the CappWag evaluation tool
3.1. The design of the two role-playing games
3.3.1. The scenario of the games
3.3.2. The game setting
3.2. The additional measurement tools
3.2.1. The monitoring file and the questionnaire
3.2.2. The collective debriefing
3.3. Definition of the capabilities at the center of the evaluation tool
3.3.1. The definition of a “new management rule”
3.3.2. The case of the collective capability “making a diagnosis”
3.4. Learning how to play the game: an inevitable feature of CappWag
3.5. Guidelines for future researchers and practicioners
4. The use of a social experiment to evaluate participatory processes: discussing the validity of the data and the practicity of the tool
4.1. The internal validity of the tool
4.1.1. The appropriation of a semi-abstract game by players
4.1.2. An evaluation tool and an element of the participatory process: the two traits of the CappWag experiment CappWag, a dual workshop within a participatory process The impact of the evaluation on the participatory process
4.1.3. The thin boundary between a serious and a playful game
4.1.4. The constrained space of the RPG to measure capabilities
4.2. The external validity of the tool
4.2.1. The facilitation and the observation of the game
4.2.2. Translating the CappWag workshop in several languages
4.3. The inclusion of the CappWag experiment in participatory processes
4.3.1. The importance of winning the interest and engagement of practicioners and partcipants to ensure the implementation of the tool
4.3.2. The difficulty of using a game as an evaluation tool in a participatory context
4.3.3. Discrepencies between the values advocated by the evaluated participatory process and the goal of the CAPPWAG games
4.4. Guidelines for future researchers and practicioners
5. The capability approach as a framework for the evaluation of participatory processes: assets and limitations
5.1. The universality of the CappWag evaluation tool: taking into account the specificities
of the implementation contexts
5.2. A subjective evaluation: the reliability of the collected data in question
5.2.1. The reliability of self-reporting by players
5.2.2. The reliability of external observations
5.3. Measuring valued freedoms with an experiment: the case of collective capabilities
5.3.1. The scale of evaluation
5.3.2. The specifications made during the process of designing the measurement tool
5.3.3. The capability approach as an evaluation framework for water resources management processes: what is left to explore
5.4. Guidelines for future researchers and practicioners
General conclusion
1. Key contributions from the thesis chapters
2. Adressing the research questions
3. Addition of this doctoral research to knowledge
3.1. The operationalization of the Capability approach
3.2. The use of a role-playing game as a support for evaluation
4. Shortcomings of this thesis and agenda for future research
4.1. Towards more autonomous implementation
4.2. Extending the scope of evaluation
4.2.1. Implementing the CappWag evaluation tool on a “real” participatory process
4.2.2. Extending the scope of evaluation: measuring other capabilities
Annex I: A list of individual and collective capabilities related to participatory management for natural resources.
Annex II: CAPPWAG (river and lake) – Instructions for the facilitator.
Annex II.1 : CAPPWAG (Rivière et lac) – Instructions pour l’animateur
Annex II.2: Instructions for the facilitator
Annex III: CAPPWAG (river and lake) – Rules of the game (III.1: FRENCH; III.2: ENGLISH)
Annex III.1 : CAPPWAG – Règles du jeu
Annex III.2: CAPPWAG – Rules of the game
Annex IV: The monitoring file (IV.1: FRENCH; IV.2: ENGLISH).
Annex IV.1 : Fiche de suivi
Annex IV.2 : The monitoring file
Annex V: The observation file for the facilitators (V.1: FRENCH; V.2: ENGLISH).
Annex V.1 : CAPPWAG – Fiche-bilan du facilitateur
Annex V.2: CAPPWAG – Observation file for the facilitators
Annex VI: Complete post-CappWag questionnaire (VI.1: FRENCH; VI.2: ENGLISH).
Annexe VI.1 : Questionnaire
Annexe VI.2 : Questionnaire
Annex VII: Structure of the debriefing (VII.1: FRENCH; VII.2: ENGLISH).
Annex VII.1: Structure du debriefing collectif
Annex VII.2 : Structure of the debriefing
Annex VIII: Individual interviews’ guide (VIII.1: FRENCH; VIII.2: ENGLISH).
Annexe VIII.1 : Trame des entretiens individuels
Annex VIII.2: Structure of the individual interviews
Annex IX: Summary of the new management rules implemented by the seven groups of
players during their ex ante and (if existing) ex post workshops.
Résumé long (in French)
L’approche par les capabilités
Une expérimentation sociale basée sur un jeu de rôle pour évaluer des capabilités
La mise en place de l’outil CappWag sur deux cas d’étude
Discussions et conclusion
Résumé (in French


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