Brad Cousins

Special Issue

Editor’s Remarks


Evaluation capacity building (ECB) is a domain of inquiry and practice that has captured the eye and the imagination of many members of our field. Some of our colleagues work as practicing evaluation trainers or have some commitment to capacity building in their evaluation practice. Others have contributed to our understanding of ECB theory through reflective papers and books. And there are colleagues and students of evaluation who have conducted empirical research in the area. Of course, there are also those—the numbers may be small—who engage with all three spheres of interest. We are pleased to present in this special edition of the Journal a collection of empirical studies on the integration of evaluation into theorganizational culture. Motivation for this theme is multi-fold.

First,not just in the domain of ECB but more generally in our field, it can be argued that there is a lack of empiricism in our profession. We wanted to add the empirical knowledge base by way of strengthening it andproviding insight for future direction and practice.

Second, much of our own work has been related to evaluation as a potential lever fororganizational change. (By “our,” I mean myself, university-based colleagues, practice-based colleagues, and students.) Organizational ECB is naturally part and parcel of that general domain of inquiry.

Third, through the published literature, conferences, and personal connections, we are increasingly aware of other colleagues who are either doing research on ECB or supervising students working in the area.

Fourth, although we do see the occasional empirical study published in this general area—and this is becoming increasingly frequent—we have not yet seen a collection of empirical studies published as one package. Therehave been other collections published with a focus on ECB, but they have not been entirely empirical. Finally, our editorial team has had a commitment to publishing research on evaluationover the last number of years, and this special edition provided an opportunity to push further on that agenda.