Communicating About Evaluation: A Conceptual Model and Case Example

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Bianca Montrosse-Moorhead
Aarti P. Bellara
Anthony J. Gambino


Background: Despite consensus within the evaluation community about what is distinctive about evaluation, confusion among stakeholders and other professions abounds. The evaluation literature describes how those in the social sciences continue to view evaluation as applied social science and part of what they already know how to do, with the implication that no additional training beyond the traditional social sciences is needed. Given the lack of broader understanding of the specialized role of evaluation, the field struggles with how best to communicate about evaluation to stakeholders and other professions.

Purpose: This paper addresses the need to clearly communicate what is distinctive about evaluation to stakeholders and other professions by offering a conceptual tool that can be used in dialogue with others. Specifically, we adapt a personnel evaluation framework to map out what is distinctive about what evaluators know and can do. We then compare this map with the knowledge and skill needed in a related profession (i.e., assessment) in order to reveal how the professions differ. 

Setting: Not applicable.

Intervention: Not applicable.

Research Design: Not applicable.

Data Collection and Analysis: Not applicable.

Findings: We argue that using a conceptual tool such as the one presented in this paper with comparative case examples would clarify for outsiders the distinct work of evaluators. Additionally, we explain how this conceptual tool is flexible and could be extended by evaluation practitioners in a myriad of ways.

Keywords: evaluation knowledge; evaluation skill; profession; professionalization


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How to Cite
Montrosse-Moorhead, B., Bellara, A. P., & Gambino, A. J. (2017). Communicating About Evaluation: A Conceptual Model and Case Example. Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation, 13(29), 16–30. Retrieved from
Author Biography

Bianca Montrosse-Moorhead, University of Connecticut

Dr. Bianca Montrosse-Moorhead (Measurement, Evaluation, and Assessment program) joined the University of Connecticut in 2013.  At the university, she serves as an Assistant Professor, program coordinator for the Graduate Certificate Program in Program Evaluation, and teaches coursework in evaluation and research methodology.  She is also co-chair of the EvalYouth Global Network, a vibrant new international network focused on giving a voice to and building capacity among young and emerging evaluators and youth stakeholders. Motivated by a desire to bridge gaps between the academic and practical domains of Evaluation, her scholarship is guided by three primary goals: (i) to develop stronger evidence-informed evaluation practices; (ii) to advance valid and actionable evaluative knowledge; and (iii) to examine the inputs, process, and impact of preK-12 interventions designed to promote social betterment and educational equity.