Introductions to Evaluation

Evaluation is a large, interdisciplinary field of practice conducted in a wide variety of contexts. Vocabulary used to discuss evaluation is not standardized across the field, which can complicate the task of learning about evaluation.  We have made an attempt below to provide links to resources on a wide range of evaluation approaches, concepts, and applications. This page contains links to general introductions to evaluation, glossaries of evaluation terms, and curated toolkits for early-career evaluators. For more detailed guides to specific evaluation techniques, check out our page on Evaluation in Practice; for advice on engaging with ongoing conversations about evaluation check out Conversations About Evaluation.

The BetterEvaluation page,  "What is Evaluation?" provides a general overview of the evaluation profession, and can be a good place to get started when orienting yourself in the field.  The AEA also has a "What is Evaluation?" page presenting individual evaluators' perspectives on their own roles within the evaluation field.

The following pages present collections of resources and training materials for evaluators and evaluation teams.

Better Evaluation: Home

Connecting Evidence: Evaluation Planning

Vantage Evaluation

Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute Resources

EvalPartners Recommended Toolkits

EvalPartners Community Toolkits

Program Evaluation Resources (Rutgers NJAES) 

University of Kansas  Community Tool Box 

Blue Marble Evaluation Resources

Evaluation Checklists | The Western Michigan University Evaluation Center


4 Steps to an Evaluation Plan

Evaluation Glossaries

These links connect to program-specific glossaries of evaluation terms that you may encounter when working with evaluators or reading evaluation reports.

Evaluation Dictionary - Eval Academy 


US Dept. of Energy Program Evaluation Glossary

US CDC Program Evaluation Guide - Glossary

Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS Glossary of Monitoring and Evaluation Terms (PDF)