TO:        AEA members

FROM:    The AEA Evaluation Policy Task Force (William Trochim, Chair)

RE:         Nominations of Successful, Influential, Evaluations for AEA's Evaluation Policy Initiative


As was reported in a recent newsletter/email, the AEA Board of Directors has launched an initiative designed to increase AEA’s voice and influence in the development of federal level policies about evaluation. This Evaluation Policy Initiative is designed to assist AEA in developing an ongoing capability to influence evaluation policies that are critically important to the practice of evaluation. In part, the initiative will involve explaining the capabilities and potential of evaluation to those involved in establishing policies that determine evaluation practice. The term “evaluation policy” encompasses a wide range of potential topics that include (but are not limited to): when systematic evaluation gets employed, and on what programs, policies and practices; how evaluators are identified and selected; the relationship of evaluators to what is being evaluated; the timing, planning, budgeting and funding, contracting, implementation, methods and approaches, reporting, use and dissemination of evaluations; and, the relationship of evaluation policies to existing or prospective professional standards.


We recognize that, for this initiative to be effective and to represent AEA reasonably, we need to draw from our common experiences and beliefs. We further believe that it will be important to anchor those experiences and beliefs in actual achievements of past publicly-reported evaluations. Therefore, we are asking AEA Members to tell us about the evaluations they believe have made a difference over the past ten years. We encourage you to think about potential nominations from a number of perspectives: appropriateness of methodology and contextual persuasiveness; specific policy or program usefulness; improvements in knowledge; improvements in public information; accomplishments vis-a-vis public accountability; or the like. We are conceiving of evaluation's role in government both narrowly and broadly, as an aid to excellence at different stages of policy development and program operations, but also as a major player in maintaining the checks and balances essential to our government and to the public.


Accordingly, we would like to hear your nominations of any evaluations you believe have made a difference in public policy, defined broadly, any time over the past decade. These evaluations may have used entirely different methodologies (e.g., mixed methods, case study evaluations, randomized field experiments, quasi-experimental design, etc.). They may have emerged from any subject area (e.g., health, education, energy, defense, the environment, housing, transportation, and so on). They may have had different purposes and made different kinds of contributions (e.g., facilitating initial program development, improving information for policy making, increasing knowledge about a social problem, informing the public). Our idea, simply put, is to be able to cite some of the strong evaluations you nominate as examples, not of what evaluation "can" do in the abstract, but rather of what it has actually done in the past.


To submit nominations, go to http://archive.eval.org/EPTF.infeval.form.asp and fill out the short form to provide the following for each nominated evaluation:


  • The evaluation title
  • The evaluator or evaluation team
  • Reference(s) or link to evaluation report(s)
  • The program or policy area (e.g., mental health, preschool, energy conservation)
  • A concise statement of why you believe this evaluation is notable in the context of talking with federal level people about what evaluation can contribute.
  • Your contact information (phone and email)
  • Evaluation team leader’s contact information (phone and email)
We welcome nominations at any time, but especially appreciate responses by January 7, 2008.


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