Summer Reading Lists for Students


Hey everyone!

What summer reads do you recommend for students of evaluation? Reply with the books you think should be on our reading lists (or any evaluator’s reading list).



Anything by Stephanie Evergreen. Her books have taken my reports and data visualization to a new level.
Due to my work with Museums/Cultural Organizations/Non-profits, I also have relied on Practical Evaluation Guide (Diamond, Luke, Uttal, eds.). It’ has some great basic information and is a good reference point.


I’m a big fan of Elena Harman’s new book, The Great Nonprofit Evaluation Reboot

It really speaks to my practitioner heart.

And no, it’s not just because I have a cartoon in it…


Michael Quinn Patton’s Facilitating Evaluation is a great text if you’re interested in facilitating discussions, stakeholder engagement, etc. around eval.

I’d be really interested to hear of any books not specific to evaluation but relevant to our field too (if that’s okay with JR - don’t want to send their thread off on an unwanted tangent!). I’ve heard a number of evaluators recommend The Book of Why: The New Science of Cause and Effect by Judea Pearl, but haven’t gotten to reading it yet.


@evan_poncelet books related to facilitation (but not necessarily evaluation) that I’ve heard great things about are The Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making by Sam Kaner and The Art of Focused Conversation edited by R. Stanfield. Both are on my personal summer reading list. :slight_smile:

@jrmolle2 I recently started Reframing Evaluation Through Appreciative Inquiry by Hallie Preskill and Tessie Tzavaras Catsambas (a homework assignment I’m giving myself to prep for Eval2019). I attended one of Tessie’s workshops on AI during last year’s AEA Summer Institute and was immediately hooked on the topic. The book is just as great as the workshop.


I second all of these. I am currently reading Evaluation Failures and it’s amazing (reading it makes me both very happy and somewhat ill, is that a good review?).

Designing Quality Survey Questions is a great resource for continuing to revisit best practices.

I’m looking forward to the release (tomorrow!) of Decolonizing Research: Indigenous Storywork as Methodology by Jo-Ann Archibald, Jenny Bol Jun Lee-Morgan, and Jason De Santolo.

I try to keep up with the design field for creative data collection methods and I am looking forward to the ring bound version of Universal Methods of Design that will also be released soon.


Love all the suggestions so far!

I would add " Evaluation Foundations Revisited: Cultivating a Life of the Mind for Practice" by Tom Schwandt. This book is absolutely brilliant about all things evaluation. I read it for the first time about a year ago when studying for my oral examinations, and I think I will read it again soon and probably assign a chapter or two for reading in my class.


Thanks for recommending our book Designing Quality Survey Questions, which, like many others recommended here includes original illustrations by the one and only @clysy!


I should have learned how to tag you! Will do next time.


Hahaha! No worries at all!


Thanks, everyone! These are fantastic suggestions! And of course, anything with illustrations by @clysy should be on the reading list :wink:


If the students are in school for social work:

Social Work Evaluation: Enhancing What We Do (second edition) by James Dudley.


I second the recommendation from @danawanzer of Tom Schwandt’s Evaluation Foundations Revisited: Cultivating a Life of the Mind for Practice. It’s one of my favorite evaluation books of all time. If you don’t have time to read the whole thing, check out my review of it here.
Also, Being an Evaluator: Your Practical Guide to Evaluation by Donna Podems is very good, especially for people wanting to learn or revisit the basics of evaluation.


Similar to @shelley’s FABULOUS Decolonizing Research recommendation, Linda Tuhiwai-Smith authored Decolonizing Methodologies in 1999. There is a free PDF available at the link below:


@evan_poncelet, just finished the Book of Why on audio book. I really enjoyed it. I also recommend Evaluation Foundations Revisited and will add another one from Schwandt from 2002 titled Evaluation Practice Reconsidered, which is less of an introductory text, and collection of essays critiquing what he terms modernist evaluation practice.