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Mapping the evaluation capacity building landscape: A bibliometric analysis of scholarly communities and themes

Sebastian Lemire, Abt Global; Steffen Bohni Nielsen, Danish National Research Centre for the Working Environment; Isabelle Bourgeois, University of Ottawa; Leslie Fierro, McGill University.


June 23, 2023

What kind of impact has evaluation capacity building (ECB) truly made, and how will it continue to help future researchers? A new article, co-authored by Sebastian Lemire, discusses the growing literature on ECB and presents findings from a bibliometric analysis of ECB articles published in major evaluation journals over the past 20 years.

What is ECB? Evaluation capacity building (ECB) is the process of improving an organization's ability to do and use evaluation.

This study conducted a citation network analysis – a variant of bibliometric analyses – to uncover patters of co-citations and co-authorships of ECB literature. Based on 395 articles, this bibliometric analysis successfully identified central communities of scholars in ECB literature, assembled connections between communities, and detailed thematic concentrations between articles. Main findings include:

  • Communities of scholars publishing in the ECB field concentrated around four dominant academic institutions. Within these institutions, publications are further centered around thought leaders who publish with graduate students and collaborators.
  • Scholarly collaborations differ both in terms of their collaborative models and in terms of how the communities are connected -- links between the communities are mostly enabled by thought leaders that serve as boundary spanners.
  • The published conversation on ECB has evolved over time in terms of the topics and themes addressed. These topics include defining and developing frameworks for EC and ECB, measurement instruments, ECB interventions, evaluation competencies and evaluative thinking.

Example of Visualization:

Evaluation and Program Planning - Volume 99, Online First, August 2023.

Australia & Asia Pacific
United Kingdom & Europe
North America