The International Evaluation Academy (IEA) has entered into an exciting partnership with the Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation (JMDE) to publish a special open-access issue (or series of issues, depending upon interest) entitled, “Decolonising evaluation: Towards a fifth paradigm”.

This special issue responds to the growing recognition, and the voices of scholars and practitioners calling for, the need to rethink the philosophical foundations of evaluation and the need to decolonize evaluation theory, methods, and practice so that the discipline can better serve the interests of the majority across the world.

We are writing to invite you to join us in this exciting initiative by helping us to ensure that the untold stories are told and the voices of indigenous and non-indigenous individuals that are thinking about and acting to bring a decolonized theory and practice to the forefront are heard. Authors interested to contribute are invited to submit their papers through the submission page of the Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation by Monday, May 30th

When submitting, authors are kindly requested to provide an indication of the part/section to which they feel their paper fits best (refer to the suggested outline provided below). Priority will be placed on articles that speak to decolonization paradigms, theories, and practice. A preliminary outline of the special issue is attached as guidance for prospective authors. Ideas and suggestions for new topics not listed in the outline are very welcome.

Submitted papers will be reviewed through double-blind peer review, taking into consideration alignment with the focus of this special issue on decolonizing evaluation and the originality, clarity, and conciseness of the article. Authors that would like to discuss thoughts and ideas are welcome to share their titles and abstracts with the lead editors: 

Bagele Chilisa, Professor of Evaluation, Theory and Practice, University of Botswana,



Nicole Bowman (Lunaape/Mohican), PhD from Bowman Performance Consulting and University of Wisconsin Madison – WCER.


Should you know of a scholar or practitioner whose voice should be heard and whose story should be told, please do let us know and we will reach out to them. Do not hesitate to let us know if you have any questions or concerns

Decolonizing Evaluation: The Fifth wave – Suggested Outline

Evaluation is at the crossroads. Scholars are rethinking the philosophical foundations of evaluation and the need to decolonize evaluation theory, methods, and practice so that the discipline is better able to serve the interests of the majority across the world.

Vendung (2010) outlined 4 waves of evaluation (i.e., scientific, dialogue-oriented, neo-liberal and evidence-based) raising concerns that the field was retreating into post-positivistic practices as directed by funding agencies and ultimately leaving little value in its wake.

This retreat has resulted in the formation of a much stronger wave currently barreling towards shore. This is the wave of decolonization, and it demands our immediate attention without which the field risks its relevancy in addressing the current crises of our time The first part of this issue will focus on decolonization evaluation theory, tools, and frameworks. It will explore why there is need to decolonize and the risks of not decolonizing evaluation theory and practice. It offers evaluators insights on where and how to begin with the decolonization of evaluation. Suggested titles are as follows:

• History and Imperialism: Writing Back to the Empire

• Truth, Power and the universalization of evaluation knowledge

• Evaluation Philosophy and the evaluation paradigm wars

• The double erasure of modernity/coloniality

• Evaluation colonization and the risk

• Evaluator Decolonization of self and mind

The second part speaks to the logic of evaluation capture and the process through which dominant evaluation narratives and paradigms entrench themselves becoming the universal truth that drive evaluation theory and practice and the risks involved. Suggested titles include:

• Academic imperialism

• The competencies trap

• The capacity building myth

• The aid evaluation supply chain

• Evaluation colonisation models

• The lily-white theory-tree

• Colonisation metrics and data

• Who pays the piper?

The third part looks at the evolving force field of evaluation, the direction it is taking evaluation practice and the risk and benefits to the discipline. Suggested titles of articles include:

• Changing conceptions of science

• Changing conceptions of development

• Changing conceptions of evaluation

• Changing evaluation priorities: problems without passport

• Decolonial Science

• Indigenous philosophies and evaluation

• Indigenous evaluation paradigms and voices from the global south

• The rise of indigenous evaluation

The last part of the issue will explore the liberation of evaluation and the possible pathways to decolonizing evaluation practice, demonstrate the use, importance and urgency of ‘pluriversality’; demonstrate what this means for evaluation and evaluators – what needs to change and how. Suggested titles of articles include:

• The philosophy of liberation

• The new politics of evaluation

• Justice and collective liberation and the new evaluation horizon

• Coalitions, the in between-ness space and transformative evaluation concepts

• Decolonisation of evaluation developed and tried

• Tools and practices on the how of decolonising evaluation

• Case studies that showcase decolonized evaluation practices

• Adapted evaluation models, tools, matrices

• Uprooting the evaluation tree metaphor and decolonizing the evaluation paradigms

• Evaluation as advocacy

• Evaluation liberated: free at last