Where Do We Stand? Recent AEA Member Views on Professionalization
Scott I. Donaldson
The professionalization of evaluation continues to be debated at numerous conferences in the U.S. and abroad. At this time, AEA member views on the potential benefits and negative side effects of professionalization are essential as the discussion evolves. This study provides recent views on major topics in professionalization, including potential benefits, negative side effects, processes, competencies, and procedures. Results from in-depth interviews and an online survey demonstrate that AEA members view potential benefits of professionalization to be stakeholder trust, evaluator reputation and identity, while concerns about a potential negative side effect known as the “narrowing effect” (i.e., some evaluators will be alienated based on their background, competencies, etc.) were expressed by participants. These recent findings can inform the ongoing discussion of professionalization, and suggest new directions for future research on evaluation.