Read and contribute to evaluation journals

A number of journal pages filled with text are spread out, overlapping each other

In this blog, Patricia Rogers explores how you can make the most of evaluation journals.

What this involves

You might use a 'Just in Time' approach to look for journal articles relating to a pressing evaluation issue, searching by keyword. You might also be surprised and informed in unexpected ways by regularly scanning articles in each new issue of your favourite journal. You can also contribute to evaluation journals by writing up conference presentations into more developed papers that will have a wider reach.

Why this matters

Evaluation journals can be a helpful source of ideas and examples for evaluators and evaluation managers. They are not just for academic researchers and students. There are evaluation journals worldwide and in different languages that should be used to strengthen individual and organisational evaluation capacity.

Evaluation journals can be inspirational, reminding us of the values which underpin evaluation work and encouraging us to focus more on making evaluation useful and beneficial.

They can provide detailed guidance for practice, introducing us to new ways of approaching evaluation or adapting them for particular contexts.

They can provide access to ideas and examples that are otherwise only available in expensive books and/or foreign languages.

Even examples of evaluation done in different sectors and contexts to those we work in can be useful to identify ideas and tools that might translate to our situation or help us to see the assumptions and blind spots in how we think about evaluation.

Writing for evaluation journals can help us to be more reflective and analytical in learning from our experience, more systematic about documenting it, and help us connect to others working on similar issues.

The mere fact of pointing out that there are evaluation journals can be important in showing organisational decision-makers that there is a body of knowledge and expertise that can and should be drawn on by evaluators and evaluation managers. This in itself can influence how external evaluators are engaged – for example, requiring evidence of expertise in evaluative inquiry, not just measurement of results.

What this might look like in practice

Here are six journals to check out and some papers to encourage you to explore further:

African Evaluation Journal

Open access, peer-reviewed

The African Evaluation Journal publishes high-quality peer-reviewed articles on any subject related to evaluation and provides targeted information of professional interest to members of AfrEA and its national associations.   

Recent articles from the special issue on Growing and nurturing monitoring and evaluation on the African continent, December 2022:

Asia-Pacific Journal of Evaluation

Open access, peer-reviewed

The APJE aims to improve understanding of evaluation and innovation in policies and practices in countries in the Global South in general, and in the Asia-Pacific region in particular. It is intended as a forum for evaluation practitioners, policymakers, and academic researchers.

Recent articles from the first issue (February 2023):

Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation

Open access, peer-reviewed

The Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation (JMDE) is a refereed, open-access journal whose mission is to freely publish and disseminate scholarly work that contributes to the development of evaluation theory, methods, and practice.

Recent articles  (December 2022) include:

The most recent edition is a special edition on decolonizing evaluation:

Positive changes: Popular science journal on impact investments and social impact assessment

Open access, peer-reviewed

The Positive Changes journal publishes modern achievements in social investment, impact economics, socio-economic impact assessment, monitoring and evaluation of projects and programs aimed at positive changes in a broad understanding of socio-economic development in Russia and the world.

Bilingual – Russian and English.

Recent articles (Jan 2023) include:

Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation

Open access, peer-reviewed

The Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation is published three times a year by the Canadian Evaluation Society (CES). It includes articles, practice notes and book reviews in English and French.

Recent articles and practice notes (December 2022/January 2023) include:

The most recent edition of this journal also includes the inaugural publication of the Roots and Relations section. Talking about this new content section, Larry Bremner and Nicky Bowman write: "The purpose of the R&R journey is to honour our lineage, grow our kinship, and sustain our intergenerational legacies of Indigenous wisdom and practices in evaluation. R&R will sacredly hold and protect traditional knowledge, respect and assert sovereignty, provide a nurturing space for Indigenous voices, and celebrate Indigenous innovations in evaluation."

Roots and Relations articles in the current edition include: 

Evaluation Journal of Australasia


While the current issue of the Evaluation Journal of Australasia is only available to members of the Australian Evaluation Society, some or all of the previous issues can be accessed freely. The journal includes academic articles, practice articles, interviews and book reviews.

Recent articles (March 2022) with all open access articles include:

What next?

While some evaluation journals are open access or have some open access papers, others might be behind a paywall. You might have access through your membership in an evaluation society, association or from your academic affiliation.

If you don't have access to evaluation journals through a paid subscription, there are other ways of legally accessing them:

  • Open access – several journals are open access, and many other journals have some open access articles
  • Membership benefit – many journals are published by or made available to members of evaluation associations and societies (another good reason to join, in addition to their other benefits)
  • Access legal reprints using the Chrome extension Unpaywall, which harvests Open Access material from repositories or through Google Scholar (although Google Scholar sometimes includes unauthorised PDFs of articles).

You might also consider signing up to get notified about new issues of evaluation journals. See our Evaluation Journals and Evaluation Societies and Associations pages for lists of journals and organisations you could sign up to, to receive their latest news.

Evaluation journals are invaluable resources for evaluators, providing ideas, practical guidance, and examples that strengthen evaluation capacity. They offer access to diverse perspectives, inspire reflective practice, and enable knowledge exchange. By actively engaging with evaluation journals, evaluators can enhance their skills, connect with peers, and contribute to the field.

Additions from the BetterEvaluation community

Added: August 10th, 2023

Thank you to Tracey Wond for this suggestion:

"I'd recommend discipline specific journals too (Health journals for health evaluation; public administration journals etc). Evaluation has long been at risk of being too siloed if we stick to our own specific evaluation outlets."

To add your own suggestions, send us a message via the contact form, or join the conversation on social media.

Related content