AEA Square Logo

The American Evaluation Association invites evaluators from around the world to attend its annual conference to be held Wednesday, November 11, through Saturday, November 14, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. We are fortunate to be at the world class Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, providing us with a beautiful venue and context for learning from one another as well as building in some time for relaxation and fun.

AEA's annual meeting is expected to bring together approximately 2500 evaluation practitioners, academics, and students, and represents a unique opportunity to gather with professional colleagues in a supportive, invigorating, atmosphere.

The conference is broken down into 41 Topical Strands that examine the field from the vantage point of a particular methodology, context, or issue of interest to the field as well as the Presidential Strand highlighting this year's Presidential Theme of Context and Evaluation. Presentations may explore the conference theme or any aspect of the full breadth and depth of evaluation theory and practice.

Proposals are due by midnight in the Eastern time zone, on Friday, March 20, 2009.

  • Read a letter of invitation to submit from the AEA President Learn more
  • Review the Frequently Asked Questions about proposal submission Learn more
  • Explore the types of sessions that may be proposed Learn more
  • Consider proposing an extended workshop to precede or follow the conference Learn more
  • Go directly to the proposal submission forms Learn more

Letter of Invitation to Submit for Evaluation 2010 from AEA's President

The theme for the 2009 presidential strand is Context and Evaluation. As evaluators, we recognize that context matters. But what do we mean by context? Context typically refers to the setting (time and place) and broader environment in which the focus of the evaluation (evaluand) is located. Context also can refer to the historical context of the problem or phenomenon that the program or policy targets as well as the policy and decision-making context enveloping the evaluation. Context has multiple layers and is dynamic, changing over time.

Increasingly, we are aware of the need to shape our methods and overall approach to the context. Each of the dimensions within the context of an evaluation influences the approaches and methods that are possible, appropriate, and likely to produce actionable evidence. In tandem, some evaluations embrace context and include it within the study, rather than simply attempting to control its effects. Attention to context helps to produce findings that are generalizable and useful to a broader set of stakeholders outside the local decision-making context.

Some of the questions we may begin to tackle at Evaluation 2009:

  • What dimensions of context influence the type of evaluation questions that can be addressed?
  • How does the nature of the political context influence utilization? How does it interact with the type of evaluation conducted?
  • What dimensions of context influence method-choice?
  • How does culture within context affect evaluation practice?
  • How do our evaluation theories guide us in thinking about context?
  • How can we learn about context in multisite studies?
  • What are the implications of a context-sensitive evaluation for analysis and dissemination?
  • How can we incorporate context into our evaluation inquiries?

Focusing on context at the conference will facilitate our ability to look across studies and produce an understanding of the ways context shapes the methods we use, the configuration of our study teams, the nature of the relationships we have, and strategies for disseminating the findings. Through the theme, we will inform current debates and controversies in our field by eliciting information on how best to match methods to context to produce findings that can enlighten decision makers and inform actions. The conference provides an opportunity to address these debates through a rigorous examination of our collective experiences.

I am honored to serve as the 2009 President of AEA and am looking forward to a conference that will be both stimulating and fun. Our setting next year is one you will not want to miss. For those of you who want to build in time before or after the conference, we are in an ideal location to take in all that Orlando has to offer. Moreover, within the resort itself, there are many opportunities for recreation and fun, from lazing around beside one of the four heated pools, to pampering at the spa, to a round of golf, or an afternoon of canoeing or walking the resort’s trails by the creek.

I invite you to submit a proposal to present at Evaluation 2009!

Debra Rog
2009 AEA President