2020 New Year’s Evaluation Reading List

2020 New Year’s Evaluation Reading List

Ringing in the new year often brings a feeling of a fresh start and maybe even a resolution to read more! We’ve compiled the following reading list of evaluation-related reports, books and mini-books.

  1. Truth Decay: An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis in American Public Life by Jennifer Kavanagh and Michael Rich, RAND Corporation (2018): This free report offers an analysis of how policy-making in the U.S. continues to be rooted in values-based discourse and highlights ways in which decision processes continue to reinforce selective use and sorting of information. (Suggested by SCEA Board Member Anne Vo)

  2. Scaling Impact: Innovation for the Public Good by Robert McLean and John Gargani: This free book introduces a new and practical approach to scaling the positive impacts of research and innova­tion. Inspired by leading scientific and entrepreneurial innovators from across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Middle East, this book presents a syn­thesis of unrivalled diversity and grounded ingenuity. The result is a different perspective on how to achieve impact that matters, and an important challenge to the predomi­nant more-is-better paradigm of scaling. (Description from website; Suggested by the Washington Evaluators AEA Local Affiliate and evaluator Cameron Norman)

  3. Unlocking Leadership Mindtraps: How to Thrive in Complexity by Jennifer Garvey Berger: “Author and consultant Jennifer Garvey Berger has worked with all types of leaders―from top executives at Google to nonprofit directors who are trying to make a dent in social change. She hears a version of the same plea from every client in nearly every sector around the world: “I know that complexity and uncertainty are testing my instincts, but I don’t know which to trust. Is there some way to know what to do when I can’t know what’s next? Using her background in adult development, complexity theories, and leadership consultancy, Garvey Berger discerns five pernicious and pervasive “mind traps” to frame the book. These are: the desire for simple stories, our sense that we are right, our desire to get along with others in our group, our fixation with control, and our constant quest to protect and defend our egos. In addition to understanding why these natural impulses steer us wrong in a fast-moving world, leaders will get powerful questions and approaches that help them escape these patterns.” (Description from Amazon.com; Suggested by evaluator Allison Titcomb)

  4. The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence by Dacher Keltner: “Power is ubiquitous—but totally misunderstood. Turning conventional wisdom on its head, Dr. Dacher Keltner presents the very idea of power in a whole new light, demonstrating not just how it is a force for good in the world, but how—via compassion and selflessness—it is attainable for each and every one of us.” (Description from Amazon.com; Suggested by evaluator Allison Titcomb)

  5. Evaluation in Practice Series by Editors Christina Christie and Marvin Alkin: Check out this series of concise, practical books (approximately 200 pages). These books offer readers the opportunity to delve into a specific evaluation issue or topic with focus, depth and complexity.series of evaluation. Current titles include “Mixed Methods Design in Evaluation” (Donna M. Mertens) and Facilitating Evaluation (Michael Quinn Patton). Read here for more information on how to submit a proposal for an upcoming volume. (Suggested by SCEA Board Member Evelyn Wang)
  6. Visionary Evaluation for a Sustainable, Equitable Future by Editors Beverly Parson, Lovely Dhillon, and Matt Keene:  “Take a journey to 2030 where Visionary Evaluatives abound and link with one another in actively bringing about a sustainable, equitable future. Utilizing a creative storytelling approach, Visionary Evaluation for a Sustainable, Equitable Future brings forward the centrality of values in conjunction with the role of evaluation in building a future of well-being for people, nature, and planet.”. (Description from website; Suggested by evaluator Cameron Norman)


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