English

This article reports on the results of a national survey that describes the professional and practice profiles of program evaluators in Canada, their views of their working conditions, and their sense of belonging to the field of evaluation. The data were collected between May and July 2005 via a Web survey, and 1,005 respondents filled out questionnaires. Among them, 647 indicated that they were internal or external evaluation producers, the others being evaluation users, students, or researchers. The results raise several issues. First, much of the evaluation work being done in Canada appears to be driven by accountability requirements, and secondarily by an appetite for program improvement or reconsideration. Second, voluntary certification, while quite widely supported, may create or encounter significant challenges in attempting to achieve professionalization goals. Third, the survey documents the need for professional training and the low levels of satisfaction with the training received to meet the requirements of evaluation positions. Finally, based on the current configuration of the population of active evaluators, on the intent of a majority of young evaluators to leave the field in the next few years, and on the training required in evaluation, the profession is not currently in a position to sustain itself through the renewal of a stable, capable, and committed workforce. Taken together, these results suggest a need for reflection and action on the future development of the profession.

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