Catalogue of Evaluation Choices

by Oct 12, 2017

Evaluation is such a vast field, covering all the way from common-sense normal-life logic to academia research rigour, that after 5 years fully immersed in learning and practicing it (I know it is not that much, but still) – I feel like I don’t grasp its boundaries yet.

Ever since I read Stufflebeam’s Evaluation models (2001) and its Clasification and Analysis of 22 Approaches, I’ve been wishing I could see an updated version of this catalogue so commissioners and evaluators could see all the potential evaluation design options available. Betterevaluation is of course my online evaluation repository of reference, but even there, I couldn’t find what I was looking for.

So I decided to collect, classify and put together (surely not all, but at least most of) the possible configurations an evaluation design can choose from:


NOTE: This version includes:

  • Tessie Catsambas‘ suggestion of including Appreciative Inquiry (or Appreciative Evaluation) as an approach, a design or a method – instead of as a Focus as I had included it in the first iteration I published. Thanks, Tessie!.
  • M.Q.Patton‘s suggestion of adding Pragmatism paradigm and Dana Linnell Wanzer suggesting to add Realist paradigm. Thanks!!


Obviously, there is no clear consensus on how to classify each concept and which are the options for each category, so this list presents my selection and my classification, in a way that makes sense for me.

Also, I realize this is very theoretical and academic exercise: real-life evaluation practice looks very different as many of these options stay unknown, unacknowledged or ignored. This is a caricature (not based in real data) of what I would say is a typical evaluation report:

Of course, not all the boxes will be active in any evaluation, but at least one (or several) for each level.

Anyway, I’m thinking of many ways on how to use this catalogue and iterate with it soon.

But so far, I’m happy I have a first version. I hope you find it useful! 🙂

You want to see more Visuals?