Resources Related to Working with an Evaluator

  • The American Evaluation Association (AEA) has a searchable database of evaluators, firms, and organizations involved in evaluation. The listing is voluntary on the part of the individual or firm; AEA provides this as a public service and inclusion does not constitute endorsement by AEA. The link is to a page from which you can browse all listings in alphabetical order by organization name. In addition to the name, the organization’s location(s), a description of services provided, website link, and AEA members on staff with email addresses are provided. The database also can be searched by keywords or phrases and by the name of an individual or firm. Listings also can be generated for all entries from outside the United States, all those within the United States, and for entries for individual states.
  • Community Tool Box, Section 4: Choosing Evaluators at the University of Kansas is part of a larger chapter on program evaluation. This section of the chapter “Introduction to Evaluation” provides a well-written discussion around four questions: Why pay attention to the selection of evaluators? When should you choose your evaluators? How should you decide between professional and community or other volunteer evaluators? What should you look for in choosing evaluators? Also included are a short checklist and presentation that summarize the major points contained in the text. A list of potential questions to be used during a consultant selection interview also is provided.
  • Evaluation Checklists at Western Michigan University. This website includes checklists for use by evaluators and their clients to help them identify important issues that should be addressed as part of contract development.
  • The report, Learning and Growing Through Evaluation: State Asthma Program Evaluation Guide at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — 2010 (PDF | 1.6 MB), includes an especially helpful appendix (Appendix D: “Hiring an Evaluator”). Although this is an appendix from an evaluation guide for state asthma programs, the information and guidelines are directly applicable or easily adaptable to evaluations in other settings. Further, although the appendix title is “Hiring an Evaluator,” it covers the topic broadly and is a very thorough document.

Section D.1 is a sample position description that includes general items under the headings of principle duties and knowledge, skills, and abilities. This is followed by very specific items organized around the six steps of the CDC Evaluation Framework: engage stakeholders, describe the program, focus the evaluation design, gather credible evidence, justify conclusions, and ensure use and share lessons learned.

Section D.2 provides guidelines for working with an external evaluator, including lead and support roles for program staff and the evaluator for each of the six steps.

Section D.3 presents a list of competencies to look for in an evaluator arranged under four headings: professional foundations, planning and designing an evaluation, implementing the evaluation plan, and managing the evaluation. Additional resources are provided at the end of the second and third sections.

  • The Program Manager’s Guide to Evaluation (Second Edition) from the Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation includes a well-organized chapter (Chapter 4) on working with an external evaluator. The steps in the process are clearly discussed and prescriptions are provided for how to find an evaluator, what to do if you have trouble hiring an evaluator, how to develop a contract and the basic elements that should be included, the respective responsibilities of the evaluator and the program manager, and what to do if problems arise.
  • When and How to Use External Evaluators from was developed to help inform nonprofits and foundations about the process of contracting an external evaluator. It is based on a review of the literature and the experiences of the authors and colleagues with whom they have worked. Following a discussion of its evolving use by nonprofits and foundations, the authors address issues pertaining to where to find evaluators, developing and reviewing responses to a request for proposal for an evaluation, contract and scope of work, costs, and tips for managing the evaluator and the overall process (including signs that the relationship is failing).
Last Updated: 09/24/2015