BetterEvaluation community's views on the difference between evaluation and research


In May we blogged about ways of framing the difference between research and evaluation. We had terrific feedback on this issue from the international BetterEvaluation community and this update shares the results.

In response to the comments, we've updated the labels and graphics from the originals to make the distinctions clearer - in particular changing "mutually independent" to "not mutually exclusive", and revising the diagrams. 

Many people found it most useful to think of evaluation as a subset of research - evaluation always involves research, but there are types of research which are not evaluation. For example, basic research which seeks to understand how things are or how they work without any evaluative judgements about whether this is good or bad.

Many people preferred to think about research and evaluation as not mutually exclusive - something could be evaluation, or research, or both. 

And many people said they used different framings for different purposes.

You can read all the comments about each way of framing the difference and add further comments or examples below.  We'll be revisiting this question in 2015 - and also exploring another common question "What is the difference between monitoring and evaluation?".

Thank you to everyone for their contributions to this exploration and Nicholas Herft for the illustrations. 




'BetterEvaluation community's views on the difference between evaluation and research' is referenced in: