IDPE Week: The Journal of Multi-Disciplinary Evaluation, A True Evaluation Asset by Aaron Kates

Hi, my name is Aaron Kates, a doctoral student in the Interdisciplinary PhD in Evaluation (IDPE) at Western Michigan University. The life of a doctoral student is many things. It can at once be that of a pupil, a teacher, an expert, a researcher, email sender, email receiver, coffee maker, coffee drinker, early riser, night owl and much more. Mine, for the past three and a half years, has been all these things in one way or another. The role I never expected before beginning my IDPE studies was that of editor, but that is what my graduate research associateship was all about.

            From the very beginning of my work on the Journal of Multidisciplinary evaluation, I was struck with the import of the task at hand, and the value of the publication to the field. Being a department-run, open-source journal, and one with an admittedly rag-tag behind-the-scenes crew (basically me and my supervisor Chris Coryn), and a process that is sometimes less than regular (what’s the schedule for publication?), I had my doubts as to the reach and influence of the publication. However, I had read enough of my first evaluation textbook at the time to realize it was something extraordinary to have corresponded with Michael Scriven and Michael Quinn Patton regarding journal-related matters in the course of my first week on the job.

            Beyond the greats in the field of professional evaluation, we do from time to time see work that is of importance to other disciplines. Take, for example, the piece that Tomaz Chianca and Michael Patton published on the work of Paolo Freire in Guinea-Bissau. Freire’s work is known and important in many disciplines, not just in evaluation. Recent publications from the likes of Robert Picciotto, Yury Zaytsev, and David Lempert all address issues that reach beyond basic evaluation methodology to transdisciplinary issues that have implications for civil society, international development, and more.

            While some of the greats in the field do see the journal as a viable option for publication, because of our flexible format and our agility as an open-access, online-only publication, JMDE is also a great option for first-time publishers. It has been my pleasure to work with many novice authors, many of whom are fellow graduate students, putting out work on their experiences of setting out as new evaluators.

            The time is coming when I will pass the baton of JMDE to the next lucky soul. It has been challenging, but certainly worth it. This publication, where experience and well-established scholarship meet the reality of everyday evaluation practice, is an asset to the evaluation community. Over the past three and a half years I have thought of it is my project, my baby. But with the help of everyone on the editorial board, all of our wonderful reviewers, and all of the contributions from our brilliant authors, it is truly ours. Thank you, evaluation community, for taking this journey with us.

Rad Resources:

This week, we’re diving into learning about the Interdisciplinary PhD in Evaluation (IDPE) program at Western Michigan University.  IDPE is the oldest evaluation doctoral program whose purposes include the education and development of thought leaders in evaluation. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

2 thoughts on “IDPE Week: The Journal of Multi-Disciplinary Evaluation, A True Evaluation Asset by Aaron Kates”

  1. Dr. Sondra LoRe

    Thank you for the great post, Aaron! I am enjoying learning about your experiences with the journal. Best wishes as you continue your PhD journey!
    Sondra LoRe, Ph.D.
    Manager | National Institute for STEM Evaluation and Research (NISER)
    Adjunct Professor | Evaluation, Statistics, and Measurement Program, Department of Educational Psychology & Counseling
    The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
    Office of Research & Engagement
    114 Philander P. Claxton Education Building
    PH: 865-974-4962

  2. MIkkel Møldrup-Lakjer

    The Journal of Multi-Disciplinary Evaluation is a marvellous resource for members of the evaluation community. By that, I mean all of us in the evaluation field who like to be inspired by the thoughts, critiques, and works of others, and who like to ponder and delve into theoretical and methodological questions ourselves.

    Thank you so much to the contribution authors and, not the least, to the “rag-tag behind-the-scenes crew”!

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