Susan Kistler on the Guiding Principles for Evaluators

My name is Susan Kistler. I am the Executive Director for the American Evaluation Association, and I contribute each Saturday’s post to aea365.

The Guiding Principles for Evaluators serve as the cornerstone of good evaluation practice. Developed in 1994 as guidelines for sound, ethical practice, they have been broadly vetted with the AEA membership and reviewed and revised at regular intervals, including most recently in 2003, in order to ensure that they remain current with the field. The Guiding Principles urge attention to:

  • Systematic Inquiry
  • Competence
  • Integrity/Honesty
  • Respect for People
  • Responsibilities for General and Public Welfare

Hot Tip: The complete guiding principles are available online at including a downloadable brochure.

Rad Resource: In 2006-2007, the AEA Ethics Committee worked with a range of evaluators to develop a training package aimed at introducing the Guiding Principles in a workshop format and engaging evaluators in discussion about ethical practice. The resulting package, having been reviewed by an expert panel and approved for distribution by the AEA Board of Directors, is available free online for use for personal instruction or as a starting point for facilitating a workshop on the Guiding Principles. It includes a facilitator’s guide with case studies and worksheets, an article on ethical reasoning, an example PowerPoint presentation, and a workshop evaluation form. All may be downloaded from the AEA website at

Hot Tip: Consider introducing clients to the Guiding Principles and assuring stakeholders of your adherence to the tenets within.

This contribution is from the aea365 Daily Tips blog, by and for evaluators, from the American Evaluation Association. Please consider contributing – send a note of interest to

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