Professional Associations

Several professional associations provide opportunities for evaluators to learn more about evaluation in the informal science education field and share their own work.

Visitor Studies Association (VSA): The Visitor Studies Association is a membership organization dedicated to understanding and enhancing learning experiences in informal settings through research, evaluation, and dialogue.

American Evaluation Association (AEA): The American Evaluation Association is an international professional association of evaluators devoted to the application and exploration of program evaluation, personnel evaluation, technology, and many other forms of evaluation. The AEA also hosts the AEA Public Library where members of the community post instruments, presentations, reports, and more. AEA has a number of topical interest groups (TIGs) that may be of particular interest to informal science education evaluators.

·       Art, Culture, and Audiences TIG

·       Environmental Program Evaluation TIG

·       STEM Education and Training TIG

·       Youth Focused Evaluation TIG

Committee on Audience Research and Evaluation (CARE): The Committee on Audience Research and Evaluation (CARE) of the American Alliance of Museums provides a forum for museum professionals who believe that understanding the visitor is an essential part of museum planning and operation, and disseminates information about systematic research and evaluation pertaining to museum audiences.

Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC): The Association of Science and Technology Centers hosts the Research & Evaluation Community of practice, which provides a forum through which institutions can discuss questions and challenges about evaluation, and receive support and resources from peer institutions and experienced professional evaluators.

American Educational Research Association (AERA): The American Educational Research Association (AERA) is an international professional organization, with the primary goal of advancing educational research and its practical application. They are concerned with improving the educational process by encouraging scholarly inquiry related to education and evaluation and by promoting the dissemination and practical application of research results. They have a special interest group focused on research on evaluation.