Evaluation journals play an important role in documenting, developing, and sharing theory and practice. They are an important component in strengthening evaluation capacity.
Some journals focus on particular sectors (for example, health program evaluation), some on particular regions (for example, the African Evaluation Journal), and some on particular methods (for example, counterfactual-based impact evaluation).
Journals can be a valuable source of information about particular methods, about adapting evaluation practice to suit particular contexts, and about different strategies for managing the evaluation function. They can provide examples to follow closely and new ideas which might be translated into a different context.
Advice for choosing this method
There are a number of reasons why you might choose to use evaluation journals in your work:
- Tap into valuable ideas and examples: Evaluation journals offer resources for evaluators and evaluation managers, not just academic researchers and students.
- Strengthen evaluation capacity: Utilize evaluation journals from various countries and languages to enhance individual and organizational evaluation skills.
- Gain inspiration and guidance: Evaluation journals can remind us of evaluation's underlying values, provide practical advice, introduce new evaluation approaches, and adapt them to specific contexts.
- Access ideas and examples: Journals grant access to concepts and illustrations that may otherwise be limited to expensive books or foreign languages.
- Learn from diverse sectors and contexts: Explore evaluation work conducted in different sectors and contexts to identify transferable ideas, tools, and challenge assumptions.
- Foster reflection and analysis: Writing for evaluation journals encourages reflective and analytical thinking, systematic documentation of experiences, and facilitates connections with like-minded professionals.
- Highlight the importance of evaluation knowledge to decision-makers: By referencing evaluation journals, you demonstrate to decision-makers the existence of a valuable body of knowledge and expertise to inform evaluators and evaluation managers.
Advice for using this method
There are a number of ways in which you might use evaluation journals:
- Engage in a "Just in Time" approach: Search for journal articles using relevant keywords to address urgent evaluation issues.
- Regularly scan articles in your favourite journals: This can lead to unexpected insights and keep you informed on the latest developments. Signing up to receive updates from journal websites and publishers can help you stay on top of new editions.
- Contribute to evaluation journals: Transform conference presentations into more comprehensive papers to increase their reach and impact.
Consider and navigate access requirements for journals. Some journals may be open access or contain open access articles, while others might require payment or be behind a paywall. Some tips for navigating this include exploring alternative means of accessing evaluation journals legally if you don't have a paid subscription, such as:
- Utilizing open access resources: Many journals offer open access options, and some have a selection of open access articles available.
- Leveraging membership benefits: Join evaluation associations or societies, as they often provide access to journals as a membership benefit.
- Taking advantage of additional methods: Install the Chrome extension Unpaywall, which gathers Open Access content from repositories, or try using Google Scholar (though be cautious as unauthorized PDFs can sometimes be included).
The journals below are divided into three categories:
- Open access, available at no cost
- Provided to members of evaluation associations and societies (usually also available through libraries and subscriptions)
- Available through libraries and subscription (some articles might be open access)
Provided to members of evaluation associations and societies (some articles are open access)
Available through libraries and subscriptions
Tools for accessing journal articles
'Evaluation journals' is referenced in:
- Rainbow Framework :