Why do we avoid evaluation?

This is a 20-minute presentation on evaluation use developed by Alexey Kuzmin (Process Consulting Company, Moscow, Russia) in collaboration with the ILO International Training Centre (ILO ITC, Turin, Italy). 

This resource and the following information was contributed by Alexey Kuzmin.

Authors and their affiliation

Alexey Kuzmin

Key features

Key messages:

  • The problem of evaluation use exists since the early times. Research on evaluation use is an essential part of research on evaluation. There are numerous important research findings that can inform evaluation practice and enhance evaluation use, but we have not solved the problem yet.

  • Do we conduct evaluation when it is really needed? When evaluation becomes an inevitable routine, we face a problem with evaluation use. Motivation of the potential users in this case is to minimize evaluation consequences or to avoid them completely.

  • Evaluation should be timely to be useful. Evaluation that informs program design has high utilization potential.

  • Only adaptive (developmental) evaluation can be really useful for adaptive programs. Self-evaluation capacity is the key for adaptive evaluation implementation.

  • Evaluation could be seen as service. Customer service professionals know how to make service useful. We can learn from them.

  • Evaluation could be seen as consulting. We can improve consulting skills to make it more useful. How about going beyond recommendations?

  • Useful evaluation report provides evidence-based answers to the evaluation questions in a reader-friendly manner. Less pages, more infographics! Publish articles, not reports. They are more readable and useful. Are we ready to rethink reporting guidelines and standards for evaluators?

  • In all cases, resistance to change should be considered as it is natural. Intended users participation in the evaluation process may decrease the resistance dramatically.

  • Consider different approaches to evaluation (expert, indicator, empirical) to produce most usable results.

How have you used or intend on using this resource?

Since I am the author, let me put it this way:

  • It could be used as food for thought.
  • It could be used as a training material. For instance, one may demonstrate video or its part to the audience and then organize a group discussion.

Why would you recommend it to other people?

  1. I recommend it as it is based on (a) 20+ years of my evaluation practice and thorough self-reflection, (b) important publications by the thought leaders.
  2. Most likely people will find at least something new even if they disagree with the proposed ideas.


Kuzmin, A. (2019). Why do we avoid evaluation? [Video]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryA303dT0x4&feature=youtu.be