Dear Evaluator

Dear Evaluator,

What are the best places/resources/blogs/newsletters to keep on top of audience research and relevant program evaluations? Wouldn't it be great if there was a CARE blog/list-serv that shared the table of contents from relevant publications and websites monthly? As an organization whose work cuts across various topics (early childhood, families, diverse audience development, immigrant communities, range of cultural institutions, etc. etc.), it's hard to keep up on all the places where applicable research pops up?


Resource Seeker

Dear Resource Seeker,

I certainly understand your struggle. As an evaluator who works with multiple types of museums and other informal education settings, it is difficult to stay on top of it all, particularly as more high-quality blogs and other non-“published” resources emerge. One of our goals through this newsletter is to try to keep our members abreast of where to find resources. Some that I find particularly useful are:

Museum Education Monitor (MEM)
Christine McCastle does an excellent job culling important resources in the field. Her goal for MEM is “to assist the development of theory and practice in museum education by providing a road map to new and current resources.” MEM comes out monthly, and issues are typically 10 plus pages of information, including current research and evaluation, a select list of blog posts, online resources, thesis and dissertation research, etc.  

American Evaluation Association (AEA)
AEA is a very active association that is offering tons of resources for evaluators and the evaluation interested.  The AEA365 Tip-a-day is a great place to dip your toes into the evaluation well for those who may not know where to begin.  Find them online or register to receive them by e-mail! My personal favorite resource of theirs is the AEA Coffee Break Webinar Series. They are 20-minute webinars that happen every Thursday at 2 p.m. (ET)—right around when I am looking for some necessary caffeine and mental stimulation (mental stimulation guaranteed, but bring your own caffeine of choice). 

Visitor Studies Association (VSA)
VSA is CARE’s sister organization. VSA is “dedicated to understanding and enhancing learning experiences in informal settings through research, evaluation, and dialogue.” The Visitors Studies journal is a peer-reviewed journal published biannually by VSA—where you are guaranteed to find solid research specific to museums and informal education settings. If you are trying to figure out whether there is existing research that speaks to your evaluation question, this is the place to go. Review the journals or send out your query to the active listserv.  

A website from the Center for the Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE) is “a central portal to project, research and evaluation resources designed to support and connect the informal STEM education community in museums, media, public programs and a growing variety of learning environments.” This is a great resource for so many things including evaluation reports that often go unpublished. The Evidence Wikis also provide amazing overviews of topics and are loaded with references.        

This is just a sampling of some resources, but we hope to share more of these resources as well as useful articles and research findings in our Quarterly Newsletter and on the CARE website over time.


Amanda Krantz
CARE Secretary
Senior Associate, Randi Korn & Associates, Inc.