24 - 26 May 2022

Online & London

UK Evaluation Society Annual Conference 2022

Re-imagining Evidence and Evaluation – Politics, Context, Challenges


Call for Abstracts

Given continuing uncertainties due to the pandemic, the format of the Conference will be part online and part in-person. Should the environment for large meetings become restricted, we will flex to a fully online conference.

Conference outline

Tuesday, May 24th – online – sessions around abstracts
Wednesday, May 25th – in-person – half day
Thursday, May 26th – in-person – full day

Conference Theme

Many interrelated and complex forces shape our lives.  From local and national issues which affect our day-to-day, such as employment, infrastructure, healthcare, and regional inequities across the country, to those global challenges which we face collectively, such as the climate crisis and pandemics. Decisions need to be made and action taken at an increasing pace.

The practice of evaluation, and the broad, diverse evaluation community, has a role to play in informing the responses to these challenges. We need to be adaptable and nimble. We need to navigate the political dimension of using evidence and evaluation in decision-making. The evidence we use needs to be responsive to the environments in which we work, building on new technologies and possibilities as they arise. Evaluative practice needs to be authentic and robust enough to keep relevant as we address the processes and challenges of rapid change. We need to see when change requires adjustment or adaptation or when it is at the level of transformation.

The UK Evaluation Society Conference 2022 will build on some of these debates and discussions to explore the politics, contexts, capabilities, theories and data the evaluation community uses to respond to these challenges and interrogate what further we can do to inform and encourage evidence-based decision making, in both local and global contexts, on these fast-moving, complex issues.


Call for Abstracts

We invite contributions from a wide range of fields and sectors, whether civil society, government, academia, students, emerging evaluators, the private sector from within the UK, or any part of the world. The Conference is a really great opportunity to share your work/evaluation interests, get feedback and hear what others are doing.

We welcome structured abstracts for online sessions, for papers, discussion panels, world cafes and more, which align with one of the following strands:


Strand 1 – Politics, and contexts for evidence and evaluation

Evaluators promote evidence-based policymaking. However, all evidence is filtered through the prism of politics – whether individual, team, organisational, local, regional, sectoral, national, or global. For example:

  • How do politics and evidence interact? How do we navigate the politics of the use of evaluation findings and evidence? At what point does a government instigate measures or call for assistance around a major crisis such as drought, flood, or pandemic?
  • How do evaluators engage with commissioners and decision-makers, usefully, in the design and process of an evaluation?
  • How should evaluation be funded? By whom?
  • How should evaluation engage with the biophysical context?
  • Should we be using evaluation and analytical frameworks in a more expansive, creative, daring and more exploratory way than we do now, involving more realistic goals, wider design participation and credible timeframes?
  • How do we manage the power interests of different stakeholders in an evaluation process?
  • How can an evaluation contribute to sustainable, transformative change?


Strand 2 – Data and evidence gathering in the context of ever-evolving technologies/media

Communications technology has had an enormous impact on what evaluators are able to do. Some prompts:

  • Are we using big data, real-time data, informal and situated sources and results that can reach mass audiences quickly, to useful effect?
  • Ethics of use of new types of data and evidence
  • How do we attempt to retain access for evidence use by as large a group of people as possible?
  • How do we square transparency with maintaining safe evaluative environments in which frank and authentic data can be collected?
  • What counts as evidence?
  • What have we learned from the process of collecting and using big data, real-time data, situated sources and results which can reach mass audiences quickly and simultaneously? Where are new boundaries?  What are the limits and possibilities?


Strand 3 – Capabilities and methodologies to address big challenges of our times – locally and globally

Are the capabilities we seek in the evaluation field and the methods we use geared to meet the big challenges of today?

  • What capabilities do those engaged in evaluation need to provide robust evidence and evaluation for big challenges which faced us? Commissioners? Evaluation Managers? Evaluators? Key stakeholders?
  • Does the evaluation system need to give more focus on the role and standards of Commissioners?
  • What approaches and methodologies can we use to effectively address the big challenges of our time such as climate change? Do we need to adjust current methodologies?
  • Examples of evaluations or meta-evaluations which address big challenges – what can we learn?


The Conference programme offers two lengths of slot: 30 minutes or 60 minutes.

Please submit using the abstract and/or poster forms below:

The closing date for abstract submissions is 09:00 Monday 7 February 2022

The closing date for poster submissions is midnight Monday, April 25 2022, GMT.



Registration for the Conference will open soon – watch this space!