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Action Evaluation: Research towards Building "Islands of Theory" about Success in the Field
Keywords: Action Evaluation, identity based conflict, Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Abstract: By defining the field during its inception with the terminology of conflict “resolution,” founders set up unreasonable expectations as theorists have yet to clearly establish a unifying field theory for defining and evaluating success. In this chapter, we detail some of the dilemmas of our field saddled with “resolution” as its primary identifier. We are re-setting a long research agenda to systematically compare goal data by examining responses from participants across three projects between Israeli and Palestinian youth. Our initial findings show three overarching categories of success, that empirically emerge from the data of youth-oriented dialogue and action programs between Israelis and Palestinians (i.e. understanding, building common ground, and collective action). These findings help us to theorize about types of goals that have emerged across these projects, and enable us to build “islands of theory” about types of intervention strategies in such conflicts.