This issue of New Directions for Evaluation (NDE) marks a milestone?the 25th anniversary of the American Evaluation Association (AEA). NDE is an official publication of AEA and has been a crucial means for the Association to foster and promote the professionalization of evaluation through thematic discussions of theory and practice in evaluation. NDE was first published in 1978 under the name New Directions for Program Evaluation, although the title became New Directions for Evaluation in 1995 in acknowledgment of the broader scope of evaluation. The current issue of NDE, on the 25th anniversary of AEA, looks not back but ahead. Because NDE is a thematic and guest–edited journal it tends to favor more mature, self–assured voices in evaluation. The journal format does not lend itself easily to showcasing the voices of novice evaluators, those just entering the field and who will be the next generation of evaluation practitioners and theoreticians. As such, NDE has chosen on this anniversary to highlight those voices. Included are a number of chapters that build on what evaluation has already learned from other disciplines by introducing us to new possibilities. We are also challenged in the chapters to think about techniques or methods we use, both at a practical and conceptual level. Some chapters raise questions about who evaluators are, how they interact with others, and the roles they assume in their practice. Some young evaluators are confronting, in various ways, conundrums in thinking about and doing evaluation within organizations, either from an external or internal perspective. And issues in using technology in evaluation or challenges in evaluating technology are considered.
1. Sociocultural Theory: Providing More Structure to Culturally Responsive Evaluation 7Dominica F. McBrideThe author describes sociocultural theory (ST), a comprehensive theory explaining how culture influences human development, and its potential for program evaluation.
2. Making the Case for the Humanities in Evaluation Training 15Deborah A. SmithA humanities–informed evaluation graduate course is described. Such a course would help evaluators to deal with complexity and ambiguity.
3. Political Psychology in Evaluation: A Theoretical Framework 21S. Marshall PerryThe author describes a framework for political psychology as applied to evaluation, a brief review of relevant literature and discussion of methodology, and an example of an evaluation informed by political psychology.
4. A Bridge Between Basic Social Science and Evaluation 27Robert D. BlaggForging a strong bridge between basic social science and evaluation will involve holding evaluation to a high standard, through advancing cutting–edge empirical methods, balancing demands for accountability, and providing direction for basic social science.
5. Using Nonequivalent Dependent Variables to Reduce Internal Validity Threats in Quasi–Experiments: Rationale, History, and Examples From Practice 31Chris L. S. Coryn, Kristin A. HobsonThe rationale for, history of, and examples from practice for using nonequivalent dependent variables to reduce internal validity threats, as well as some warrants supporting their increased use, are described.
6. Eval Comm 41Stephanie D. H. EvergreenA number of models and sources of inspiration for evaluators to become more mindful communicators are discussed.
7. Focus Groups in the Virtual World: Implications for the Future of Evaluation 47Kristin L. GallowayThe experience of using focus groups electronically or online is discussed, and illustrated by a description of a focus group in an online chat room with international participants.
8. En"gendering" Evaluation: Feminist Evaluation but ′I Am NOT a Feminist!′ 53Divya BhedaThe chapter reports on research on possible reasons why many evaluators, who draw from feminist principles and research, choose not to identify as feminist in their evaluation practice and scholarship.
9. New Evaluators Addressing Health Disparities Through Community–Based Evaluation 59Dara F. SchlueterThe author explores challenges in assessing health issues among ethnic and racially diverse populations.
10. Inside, Outside, Upside Down: Challenges and Opportunities That Frame the Future of a Novice Evaluator 65Sheila B. RobinsonThrough reflective questions, the author uses as a metaphor the popular children s story Inside, Outside, Upside Down to illustrate the challenges of being a novice evaluator.
11. Sailing Through Relationships? On Discovering the Compass for Navigating 21st–Century Evaluation in the Pacific 71Paula White, Amohia BoultonThis chapter describes the challenge of maintaining integrity while navigating relationships, especially at the intersection between program funders and culturally diverse communities.
12. Integrating a New Evaluation Unit With an Old Institution: See No Evil; Hear No Evil; Speak No Evil 77Claire E. BaxterThe author focuses on issues related to the implementation and acceptance of a new evaluation unit within an organization.
13. Building the Value of Evaluation: Engaging With Reflective Practitioners 83Teresa M. Derrick–MillsThis chapter proposes a three–pronged approach for developing and engaging reflective practitioners to build the value of evaluation.
14. Evaluation of Multinational Programs: Value and Challenges 91Kim A. HoffmanThe author discusses the value of building robust multinational evaluations, practical considerations for gaining ethical clearances in diverse settings, and ways to accommodate projects with varied implementation processes and goals.
15. Using Organizational Memory Directories to Analyze Networks 97Madri S. Jansen van RensburgThis chapter describes the value of organizational memory (OM) directories and networks to improve evaluation and uses a case study to illustrate the value.
16. The Evolution of Understanding: Positioning Evaluation Within a Comprehensive Performance Management System 103Kelci M. PriceThe author discusses the complementary roles of evaluation and monitoring data, and highlights ways in which evaluation can help improve performance management systems.
17. Effectiveness Engineering: Vistas of Opportunity Beyond Merit, Worth, and Significance 111Kurt A. WilsonEffectiveness engineering is presented as a sensitizing concept, a new way of seeing the subset of evaluation approaches that engage goals expanding beyond a determination of merit, worth, or significance.
18. Harnessing the Power of the Electronic Health Record Data for Use in Program Evaluation 117Deborah CohenThe author describes ways that data from electronic health records may be used, specifically from the viewpoint of empowerment evaluation, including as a viable secondary data source.
19. Utilizing Emerging Technology in Program Evaluation 123Matthew Galen, Deborah GrodzickiThe authors propose that the roles and responsibilities of the evaluator will shift as current evaluation approaches are adapted to make effective use of technological tools.
20. Online Learning Programs: Evaluation′s Challenging Future 129Derek NordThis chapter identifies and responds to many of the challenges and issues related to the evaluation of online learning that will likely test evaluators in the years and decades to come.