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AES Blog

Welcome to the AES Blog

Australasia has some excellent evaluators. More than that, we have an evaluation community full of ideas and a willingness to share. The AES has long provided a place for us to come together, at regional events and the annual conference, to develop our community together. Now we’re taking it online! The new AES blog will be a space for AES members – both new and experienced – to share their perspectives, reflecting on their theory...

If you have an idea, please contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please also view our blog guidelines.


Statement on evaluation during the pandemic

by AES Relationships Committee

The global scale and speed of disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in our lifetimes. The pathway to recovery and management of COVID-19 is expected to be complex and challenging, with significant long-term implications for individuals, organisations, governments and the country.

The coordinated national response in Australia has so far been successful because the best available data and evidence has significantly influenced decision-making. The evidence-informed approach that has served us well to-date remains equally critical going forward.

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Evaluation in the COVID-19-shaped “new normal”

by Eleanor Williams

COVID-19 has, for many, been a time of adaptation and creation of a new sense of normality.  As we move away, gratefully, from local crisis management, we have the opportunity to reflect on not only our own resilience through this time, but what we have learned and how we have adapted through adversity. 

Eleanor Williams from the Centre for Evaluation and Research Evidence, Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and the Australian Public Sector Evaluation Network shares her reflections on Evaluation Adaptation through COVID-19.

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Zita Unger: an evaluator’s journey

by Anthea Rutter

Zita has been in the evaluation profession for over 26 years and has taken a number of roles over that period. She has been an evaluation lead, consultant and lecturer in evaluation. Zita was introduced as a Fellow in 2013 at the International Evaluation Conference held in Brisbane.

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Evaluating in a pandemic: why and how and when?

by Jade Maloney

Over the last couple of months, evaluators around the world have been grappling with the question of whether and how we evaluate in the COVID-19 context. What can and should be done now, and what should wait? How can we be most useful?

For a recent online session with AES members, which Keren Winterford, Greg Masters and I hosted on behalf of the NSW Committee, I rounded up a range of reflections on these questions to prompt discussion.

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Jerome Winston: 45 years of Evaluation Insights

by Anthea Rutter

Jerome Winston’s career spans over 45 years. He has fascinating insights into how evaluation was viewed in the 70s, which reminded me that back then, evaluation was not viewed as a separate profession, but as part of other disciplines.

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Keeping it real with Gill Westhorp

by Anthea Rutter

Gill was named an AES Fellow in 2018, and I was pleased to introduce her at the AES conference in Launceston that year. We started with what brought her into the field of evaluation, and what it was about realist methodology that not only piqued her interest but now defines her as a practitioner.

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How to avoid the evaluation fads and remain in fashion with Brad Astbury

by Jade Maloney, Jo Farmer and Eunice Sotelo

With so many authors and approaches to evaluation, knowing what to pay attention to can be hard. Evaluation, just like the catwalk, is subject to the whims of the day. How do you know what’s a passing fad and what will remain in fashion?

At the AES Victoria regional seminar in November, Brad Astbury suggested the following 10 books will stand the test of time.

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An insightful conversation with Scott Bayley

by Anthea Rutter

The question of what brings a person into the field of evaluation is always an interesting question to ask, particularly as you are never sure of the answer. In this case I did not expect the answer I got.

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It takes a community to raise evaluation capacity: learnings from a successful Evaluation Community of Practice

by Florent Gomez

Have you ever tried to grow evaluation capacity across your organisation? And this, with very limited resources?

At the recent AES International Evaluation Conference in Sydney, I shared some learnings from our successful Evaluation Community of Practice in the NSW Department of Customer Service (previously NSW Department of Finance) and other soft approaches to evaluation capacity building we are using in our department.

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Reflections from a seasoned evaluator, Chris Milne

by Anthea Rutter

Chris Milne was an early pioneer in the use of program logic.  As a founding partner of ARTD Consultants, he has designed and delivered numerous evaluations across diverse sectors and built the evaluation capacity of government and non-government organisations. In recent years, he worked with another AES Fellow, Patricia Rogers, on the NSW Government evaluation toolkit.

I enjoyed speaking with Chris. He struck me as a man with a high degree of humility, as well as someone who considers his answers in a balanced way. He is obviously committed to the environment and the world in which we live, and passionate about making it a good place for the generations that follow.

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