Developmental Evaluation Resources

Developmental evaluation is an exciting, fast-growing area of evaluation practice. The following is an up-to-date curated list of developmental evaluation resources.

Last Updated: September 30/2015.

Scholarly Writing

Cabaj, M. (2011). Developmental evaluation: The experience and reflections of early adopters. (Unpublished master’s thesis). University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON.

Dickson, R., & Saunders, M. (2014). Developmental evaluation: Lessons for evaluative practice from the SEARCH Program. Evaluation, 20(2), 176-194.

Dozois, E., Langlois, M., & Blanchet-Cohen, N. (2010). DE 201: A practitioner’s guide to developmental evaluation. Retrieved from 0201%20EN.pdf.

Gamble, J. A. A. (2008). A developmental evaluation primer. Retrieved from

Lam, C. Y. (2011). A case study on the use of developmental evaluation for innovating: Navigating uncertainty and unpacking complexity. (Unpublished master’s thesis). Queen’s University, Kingston, ON.

Lam, C. Y. (2015). Exploring the leadership dimension of developmental evaluation: The evaluator as a servant leader. Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation, 30(1), 65-79.

Lam, C. Y., & Shulha, L. M. (2015). Insights on using developmental evaluation for innovating: A case study on the co-creation of an innovative program. American Journal of Evaluation, 36(3), 358-374.

Langlois, M., Blanchet-Cohen, N., & Beer, T. (2013). The art of the nudge: Five practices for developmental evaluators. Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation, 27(2), 39-59.

Leonard, S. N., Fitzgerald, R. N., & Riordan, G. (2015). Using developmental evaluation as a design thinking tool for curriculum innovation in professional higher education. Higher Education Research & Development.

Patton, M. Q. (1994). Developmental evaluation. Evaluation Practice, 15, 311-20.

Patton, M. Q. (2005). Developmental evaluation. In S. Mathison (Ed.), Encyclopedia of evaluation (pp. 184-186). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Patton, M. Q. (2006), Evaluation for the way we work, The Nonprofit Quarterly, 13(1), 28-33.

Patton, M. Q. (2008). Utilization-focused evaluation (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Patton, M. Q. (2011). Developmental evaluation: Applying complexity concepts to enhance innovation and use. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Patton, M. Q. (2012). Essentials of utilization-focused evaluation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Preskill, H., & Beer, T. (2012). Evaluating social innovation. Foundation Strategy Group.

Reynolds, M. (2014). Equity-focused developmental evaluation using critical systems thinkingEvaluation, 20(1), 75-95.


Patton, M. Q. (2010). Michael Quinn Patton on Developmental Evaluation.

Internet Resources

Better Evaluation:  Developmental Evaluation

Spark Policy Institute: Developmental Evaluation Toolkit

Vibrant Communities Online Audio Seminars:


2 replies on “Developmental Evaluation Resources”

Do you have an idea about where developmental evaluation will have most influence (public education, business, international development, etc.)?

Hi Frank! Thanks for dropping by here. At the core of what developmental evaluation offers is a different ‘approach’ to conducting evaluation. Where it stands to make a huge contribution are sectors where change is fast-paced, where there are significant constraints imposed on the existing system, where and the imperative to innovate and to respond is high. In my work as an educator, I see DE having the potential to make a meaningful contribution to program development. We’ve used it to great success in teacher education. DE is a powerful approach because it allows us to be systematic in how we make sense of program situations, how we envision and conceptualize change, and find out the extent to which we are able to realize our intentions. International development is another area I would imagine. Where there are problems to be solved, DE can make a contribution. That being said, it’s important to remember that DE isn’t a ‘fix’ that can be applied on the surface. To do DE well, it requires some deep re-thinking on the role of program in solving social problems and how organizations view program development. It’s something that needs to be embedded, instead. Michael Patton’s 2011 book on DE is an excellent primer.

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