Through the lens

Evaluation has the power to be a lens that transforms the way we see the world. As evaluators, as people, we wear many lenses that shape what we see and how we focus our vision. Our lenses can help us to reflect on different ways of knowing to inform our theory and practice; to refract our knowledge and learning in ways that enable us to embrace diversity in our communities; as well as to refocus on the future and deliver evaluative insights that resonate.

Join us in 2023 as we come together to build clarity and insight, and to share our visions for the future of evaluation.

REFLECT – Understanding different ways of knowing to inform our theory and practice

We recognise and reflect on the world views and values that underpin our theory and methods to advance the practice of evaluation. Our view of the world and what we understand as knowledge impacts the way we frame evaluation, collect evidence, analyse and interpret data, and ultimately shapes our findings. We can deepen our practice as ethical evaluators by acknowledging the historical and philosophical underpinnings that evaluation theory and methods are built on, and through learning from Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing.  How do we best draw on the strengths of different ways of knowing, being and doing to strengthen evaluation theory and practice?

REFRACT – Adapting, growing and embracing diversity

We continually evolve and diversify our evaluation theory and practice to be relevant. Adaptation ensures evaluation theory and practice deliver value in our communities, includes emerging populations and responds to changing global challenges. How can evaluation theory and practice listen to, include and evolve with our communities to incorporate  broader spectrums of identity, culture and ways of being? How has evaluation theory and practice adapted to embrace and amplify the diverse lenses held within our communities? How can evaluation deliver value given the breadth and complexity of human experiences?

REFOCUS – Challenging norms, practicing on the edge while maintaining our core

We are prepared to take chances, do things differently and challenge norms. Evaluation will be taken in innovative directions to solve new and old problems and will ultimately play its part in transforming our communities. What will the future look like and what will evaluation look like in response? How can evaluators be creative, agile and adaptive as we respond to the social and environmental issues shaping our future, whilst keeping rigour at our core? How can evaluators cultivate resilience and optimism as they work with people, institutions and environments that face increasing pressures?  How can evaluators work with and include people whose voices are not always heard?

RESONATE – Building the translational process and transformative impact of evaluation

We consider if and how our practice brings about change and stimulates others to take action. Bridging the gap between the knowledge holder and the people taking action, can bring about cultural, behavioural and changes to practice to reduce the research-practice gap. But, are there alternative practices better suited to harnessing evaluative insights and encouraging collaboration and shared learning? If so, how might people with diverse expertise work together to translate evaluative knowledge into practical use? What practices can help us both sustain innovations and accelerate their uptake, and lead to lasting impact? What communication methods and styles must we develop and apply to create a shared vision of the future?