Public information about evaluation

An important part of evaluation capacity strengthening is providing a clear definition or explanation of evaluation in online and printed materials.

At the level of an organisation or a system, it's important to have clear and constructive information widely available about what evaluation is and what evaluators do. This can support individuals and communities to engage in evaluation processes and to use evaluation findings. It is particularly important for evaluation where there is often a lack of understanding of what it involves or a misunderstanding that it always involves a review by a content expert or is focused only on compliance with processes.


The Aotearoa New Zealand Evaluation Association (ANZEA)

In 2014 ANZEA published a 21-page document ‘What is evaluation?’ written by two ANZEA Board members, Kate McKegg and Syd King. It has sections on: What is evaluation? Some important ideas – quality, value and importance, what is evaluation for – why do it, good evaluation practice, what skills, aptitudes, and competencies do you need to do evaluation, meta-evaluation – who evaluates the evaluator, and now what? The Board has committed to review the document every two years. Evaluation is defined as ‘the systematic determination of the quality, value and importance of something”. 

The International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) 

The IAP2 has developed a one-page overview of the “Participation Spectrum’ which can be downloaded from its website, and which provides an overview of different levels of participation. However, permission is needed to reproduce the spectrum and fees are charged for use except by educational and not-for-profit organisations.

Advice for using this method

Evaluation associations and societies should develop and promote a knowledge product that provides a clear, brief statement about what evaluation is.

McKegg,K., & King, S.(2014). What is evaluation, a brief introduction, ANZEA, NewZealand.

Peersman, G. and Rogers, P. (2017). Pathways to advance professionalisation within the context of the Australasian Evaluation Society. Melbourne: ANZSOG/BetterEvaluation. Retrieved from:

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