So what is evaluation anyway? 13 Cartoons

Sometimes it’s fun to go back through the archives.  Here are 13 cartoons I’ve published in the past that might help you explain evaluation.

For those that have been following me for a while and know many of these, I’ll have new cartoons soon.  I’ve been knee deep in data visualization (so much fun) working on infographics, interactive reports, and dashboards.   More on this later too.

But for now…

Explaining Evaluation

Explaining Evaluation Cartoon


Research vs Evaluation


Difference between a researcher and evaluator cartoon by Chris Lysy


Figuring out the Type of Evaluation


What kind of evaluation do you need cartoon by Chris Lysy


Overcoming Tension

The tension at the beginning of every evaluation. I know our project works. No, you don't.

 Focusing on the Right Outcomes

We saved the children cartoon by Chris Lysy

 Connecting the Dots

Attribution Cartoon by Chris Lysy

Making Comparisons

Bad Comparison Cartoon by Chris Lysy

 Systematic Assessment

Project Stinks Report Cartoon by Chris Lysy

Impact Assessments

Stop Helping People Cartoon by Chris Lysy


External Evaluators

External Evaluation Cartoon by Chris Lysy

John Mayne

John Mayne Cartoon by Chris Lysy


Carol Weiss

Carol Weiss Cartoon by Chris Lysy

 Michael Scriven

Michael Scriven Evaluation Definition Cartoon by Chris Lysy



Please comment. If you do, I will like you more.  Yes, that is the way it works.

Oh, and for all my awesome Patrons, thank you!  I’ll be building you that archive now.


  1. Courtney on March 25, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    I laughed too hard at a lot of these. Possibly out loud.

    • Chris Lysy on March 25, 2014 at 1:47 pm

      Laughing too hard is encouraged. Thanks Courtney 🙂

  2. Wendy Tackett on March 25, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    “Figuring out type of evaluation” hits all too close to home too often! I think, as a field of evaluators, we are doing a better job of educating people of the value of thinking about and planning for evaluation at the beginning of the project, but other fields (e.g., education, healthcare, nonprofits) need to systemically build it into their thinking as well 🙂

    • Chris Lysy on March 25, 2014 at 6:26 pm

      Thanks Wendy 🙂

  3. Fazeela Hoosen on March 30, 2014 at 3:58 am

    These cartoons are very interactive and a very creative way of explaining what evaluators and do, what evaluations are and the benefits of different types of evaluations. These cartoons will be extremely useful to use in academic courses as well as to explain in a non threatening and simple way to stakeholders about evaluation…would it be possible for me to use these when explaining evaluations to stakeholders?…keep up the good work!

    • Chris Lysy on March 30, 2014 at 2:51 pm

      Thank you Fazeela,
      Please feel free to use the cartoons wherever and whenever 🙂

      • Francesca Wright on April 11, 2014 at 10:15 am


        We humans love a story, an image, and a giggle. You offer all three.

        It is generous of you to so freely share. I have your blog bookmarked and look forward to following your work and finding ways to incorporate cartoons into my communications.


        • Chris Lysy on April 11, 2014 at 11:31 am

          How nice, thanks Cesca 🙂

  4. Lisa Richardson on April 1, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Chris- I will be holding a meeting with a group of people about evaluation options for a project. The group knows little about evaluation and is much more familar with research. These will come in handy!

    • Chris Lysy on April 3, 2014 at 6:25 am

      That’s great Lisa 🙂

  5. Josh Penman on April 16, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    I think the client’s perspective in “figuring out the type of evaluation” is spot on: from there, it’s the job of the evaluator to manage the interview well enough that they can put the evaluation type into Evaluation Jargon.

    But they should be sure that that jargon is always translated back into easily understandable terms when they report to the client. . .

    And maybe when we think of great translations for the jargon that clients will understand, maybe we should start using them more and more ourselves:) (As long as the questions of continuity of language and the in-group cohesion and sense of identity that are conferred by the jargon are dealt with. ) … I really want term-by-term evaluations of terms in Evaluation:)

    • Chris Lysy on April 17, 2014 at 8:23 am

      Thanks Josh.

      Do you want to put together a list of evaluation Jargon? I could see that being a good base for a cartoon post.

      • Josh on April 23, 2014 at 3:10 pm

        Making a list sounds good:) I’ll see if I get around to it:) Sounds like something to put on the if and when we are able to resurrect it. . . but for now, I have to study for my next evaluation class!

  6. KJ on July 16, 2014 at 11:12 am

    The use of cartoons disarms people and allows for the seriousness and complexity of the topic to be fully engaged. This was a fun way to discover that there is work to be done through effective communication.

  7. Rebecca Muller on October 12, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    Thank you for sharing your drawings. I would love to use a few of them in my visual representation of evaluation. It’s always good to find a humorous way to get the point across. 🙂

    • Chris Lysy on October 12, 2014 at 8:33 pm

      Please feel free Rebecca 🙂

  8. Eugenia on November 25, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Great stuff Chris, will surely use your cartoons for explaining evaluation! Please make more if you have time, I’d be most interested if you could make any cartoons on international evaluation and the challenges that can bring about, thanks!

  9. Sally Cupitt on May 14, 2015 at 8:50 am

    HI there,
    I have found a couple of brilliant Freshspectrum cartoons online – oen above and one elsewhere – can I use them in an article I am writing about randomised controlled trials, please?

    • Chris Lysy on May 27, 2015 at 11:36 am

      Feel free to use them anytime Sally!