Findings From an Empirical Exploration of Evaluators’ Values

John M. LaVelle, Clayton L. Stephenson, Scott I. Donaldson, Justin D. Hackett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Psychological theory suggests that evaluators’ individual values and traits play a fundamental role in evaluation practice, though few empirical studies have explored those constructs in evaluators. This paper describes an empirical study on evaluators’ individual, work, and political values, as well as their personality traits to predict evaluation practice and methodological orientation. The results suggest evaluators value benevolence, achievement, and universalism; they lean socially liberal but are slightly more conservative on fiscal issues; and they tend to be conscientious, agreeable, and open to new experiences. In the workplace, evaluators value competence and opportunities for growth, as well as status and independence. These constructs did not statistically predict evaluation practice, though some workplace values and individual values predicted quantitative methodological orientation. We conclude by discussing strengths, limitations, and next steps for this line of research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-28
Number of pages23
JournalAmerican Journal of Evaluation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study was supported by a grant from the Office of the Vice President for Research, University of Minnesota.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • evaluation
  • research on evaluation
  • theory-practice
  • values
  • values-practice


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