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Thomas G. Archibald

Associate Professor
  • Executive Director CIRED
Thomas Archibald
Center For International Research, Education, And Development (0378)
526 Prices Fork Rd
Blacksburg, VA 24060-3322

Ph.D., Adult & Extension Education, 2013, Cornell University, Department of Education, Ithaca, NY

M.S., Adult & Extension Education, 2012, Cornell University, Department of Education, Ithaca, NY

B.S., Animal Science, 2002, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

My research is on program planning and evaluation in non-formal education. More specifically, I have recently focused on three overlapping areas of inquiry:

1. Evaluation capacity building (ECB) and evaluative thinking;

2. Evidence-based programs, evidence-based practices, and translational research for research-practice integration; and

3. Participatory and collaborative research and evaluation.

Throughout all three areas, my work is informed by a cross-cutting focus on issues of power, participation, epistemology, and methodology.

In the domain of ECB, I focus on approaches to strengthening the individual and institutional capacity of non-formal educators to evaluate their own programs, drawing on a variety of evaluation paradigms such as systems evaluation, theory-driven evaluation, collaborative and participatory evaluation, and developmental evaluation.

In my focus on research-practice integration, I examine the practices involved in various approaches to “bridging the research-practice gap.” Some dominant approaches emphasize “evidence-based programs,” in which “evidence” refers only to that which is produced through a randomized controlled trial (RCT). My research offers new perspectives on the politics of knowledge that enact and are enacted by the “evidence-based” movements.

The primary setting for my research is the Cooperative Extension system, though I also focus on other non-formal, community-based education initiatives both domestically and internationally.

My extension and research work are highly integrated, especially since Cooperative Extension is the primary site of my research. With a 70% Extension appointment, I am honored to have the opportunity to work closely with agents, specialists, and administrators in the Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) system, focusing on issues of evaluation and evaluation capacity. The overarching goal that guides my Extension work is to help foster a culture of evaluation within VCE, whereby a critical mass of VCE professionals have the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for wide-spread, sustained, and high-quality evaluation across the system. Achieving this goal requires building on existing strengths, listening to and learning from the needs of diverse stakeholders pertaining to evaluation, and crafting a system of evaluation capacity building (ECB) and technical assistance that meets VCE’s needs. I will collaborate with others in the VCE system to establish and facilitate a monitoring and evaluation system that supports continuous learning, adaptive management for program improvement, and accountability. I envision an evaluation system in VCE that leads the nation and is a benchmark for success within the fields of extension evaluation and ECB.

Archibald, T., Guisse, B. K., Ndiaye, A., Kane, F.*, Diouf, F., & Jamison, K. (2021). Positive youth development in Senegal: A case study of 4-H Senegal. Journal of Youth Development, 16(2-3), 344-362. doi:10.5195/jyd.2021.1054

Urban, J. B., Archibald, T., Hargraves, M., Buckley, J., Hebbard, C., Linver, M. R., & Trochim, W. M. (2021). Introduction to Relational Systems Evaluation. In J. B. Urban et al. (Eds.). Relational Systems Evaluation: New Directions for Evaluation, 169, 11-18. doi:10.1002/ev.20444

Urban, J. B., Hargraves, M., Buckley, J., Archibald, T., Hebbard, C., & Trochim, W. M. (2021). The Systems Evaluation Protocol for evaluation planning. In J. B. Urban et al. (Eds.). Relational Systems Evaluation: New Directions for Evaluation, 169, 31-45. doi:10.1002/ev.20443

Urban, J. B., Linver, M. R., Chauveron, L. M., Archibald, T., Hargraves, M., & Buckley, J. (2021). Applying the Systems Evaluation Protocol in the real world: Six case studies. In J. B. Urban et al. (Eds.). Relational Systems Evaluation: New Directions for Evaluation, 169, 65-77. doi:10.1002/ev.20448

Hargraves, M., Buckley, J., Urban, J. B., Linver, M. R., Chauveron, L. M., Samtani, S., Archibald, T., & Moorman, L. (2021). Resonance, stickiness, and the value propositions of evaluation capacity building: Key takeaways and future directions. In J. B. Urban et al. (Eds.). Relational Systems Evaluation: New Directions for Evaluation, 169, 97-116. doi:10.1002/ev.20442

Archibald, T. (2021). The role of evaluative thinking in the teaching of evaluation. Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation, 35(3), 310-319. doi:10.3138/cjpe.69753

Davis, K., Snider, A., Archibald, T., Grove, B., & Babu, S. C. (2021). Organizational innovation in times of crises: The case of extension and advisory services. Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education, 28(1), 6-14. doi:10.5191/jiaee.2021.28101

Yang, L.,* Arnold, N., Drape, T., Williams, R. C., Archibald, T., Chapman, B., & Boyer, R. (2021). A survey of United States consumer awareness, purchasing, and handling of mechanically tenderized beef products. Food Control, 120, 107505. doi:10.1016/j.foodcont.2020.107505

Steketee, A. M.*, Archibald, T., & Harden, S. M. (2020). Adjust your own oxygen mask before helping those around you: An autoethnography of participatory research. Implementation Science, 15: 70.

McIntosh, J. S., Buckley, J., & Archibald, T. (2020). Refining and measuring the construct of evaluative thinking: An exploratory factor analysis of the Evaluative Thinking Inventory. Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation, 16(34), 104-117.

Archibald, T. (2020). What’s the problem represented to be?: Problem definition critique as a tool for evaluative thinking. American Journal of Evaluation, 41(1), 6-19. doi:10.1177/1098214018824043

Cisse, A. L., Maiga, I. D., Moore, K. M., & Archibald, T. (2019). Harmonization of Quality Assurance Approaches for Agricultural Higher Education in Senegal: The Case of USAID-ERA and ANAQ-Sup Collaboration. Liens: Nouvelle Série, 27(1), 208-222.

Archibald, T. (2019). Whose Extension counts? A plurality of Extensions and their implications for credible evidence debates. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 7(2), 22-35.

Archibald, T., Cook, N. E.,* & Hopson, R. (2019). Centering cultural responsiveness in the evaluation of community-based education. In B. McMahon, & L. Merriweather (Eds.), Convictions of Conscience: How Voices from the Margins Inform Public Actions and Educational Leadership (pp. 97-117). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. ISBN: 9781641136457

Yang, L.,* Khalid, M., Duong, M., Kessinger J., Ong, B., Drape, T., Williams, R. C. Archibald, T., Chapman, B., & Boyer, R. (2019). Consumer Response to Mechanically Tenderized Beef (MTB) and MTB Labels: An Exploratory Focus Group Study. Journal of Food Protection, 82(9), 1484-1495.

Scherer, H. H., Wilk, A. A.,* Wiley, S.,* Archibald, T., & Spindler, M. (2018). The Graduate Extension Scholars Program: Professional development to connect research and education. Journal of Extension, 56(6), 6RIB2.

Vengrin, C., Westfall-Rudd, D., Archibald, T., Rudd, R., & Singh, K. (2018). Factors affecting evaluation culture within a non-formal educational organization. Evaluation and Program Planning, 69, 75-81.

Archibald, T., Neubauer, L. C., & Brookfield, S. D. (2018). The critically reflective evaluator: Adult education’s contributions to evaluation for social justice. In A. T. Vo & T. Archibald (Eds.), Evaluative Thinking. New Directions for Evaluation, 158, 109-123. doi:10.1002/ev.20319

Archibald, T., Sharrock, G., Buckley, J., & Young, S. (2018). Every practitioner a “knowledge worker”: Promoting evaluative thinking to enhance learning and adaptive management in international development. In A. T. Vo & T. Archibald (Eds.), Evaluative Thinking. New Directions for Evaluation, 158, 73-91. doi:10.1002/ev.20323

Vo, A. T., & Archibald, T. (2018). New directions for evaluative thinking. In A. Vo & T. Archibald (Eds.), Evaluative Thinking: New Directions for Evaluation, 158, 139-147.

Burbaugh, B., Seibel, M., & Archibald, T. (2017). Using a participatory approach to investigate a leadership program’s theory of change. Journal of Leadership Education, 16(1), 192-204.

Silliman, B., Crinion, P., & Archibald, T. (2016). Evaluation champions: What they do, why they do it, and why it matters to organizations. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 4(3), 1-21.

Silliman, B., Crinion, P., & Archibald, T. (2016). Evaluation champions: What they need and where they fit in organizational learning. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 4(3), 22-44.

Archibald, T., Sharrock, G., Buckley, J., & Cook, N. (2016). Assumptions, conjectures, and other miracles: The application of evaluative thinking to theory of change models in community development. Evaluation and Program Planning, 59, 119-127. doi:10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2016.05.015

Archibald, T., & Moussavou, L. O. (2016). « La pensée évaluative » : Une activité mystérieuse et quotidienne [“Evaluative thinking”: A mysterious and daily activity]. Education Permanente, 208(3), 33-40. (In French).

Pollard, S., Boyer, R., Chapman, B., Di Stefano, J., Archibald, T., Ponder, M., & Rideout, S. (2016). Identification of risky food safety practices at southwest Virginia farmers’ markets. Food Protection Trends, 36(3), 168-175.

Buckley, J., Archibald, T., Hargraves, M., & Trochim, W. M. (2015). Defining and teaching evaluative thinking: Insights from research on critical thinking. American Journal of Evaluation, 36(3) 375-388. doi:10.1177/1098214015581706

Archibald, T. (2015). “They just know”: The epistemological politics of “evidence-based” non-formal education. Evaluation and Program Planning, 48, 137-148. doi:10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2014.08.001

Urban, J. B., Burgermaster, M., Archibald, T., & Byrne, A. (2015). Relationships between quantitative measures of evaluation plan and program modeling quality and a qualitative measure of participant perceptions of an evaluation capacity building approach. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 9(2), 154-177. doi:10.1177/1558689813516388

Trochim, W., Urban, J. B., Hargraves, M., Hebbard, C., Buckley, J., Archibald, T., Johnson, M., & Burgermaster, M. (2012). The Guide to the Systems Evaluation Protocol (V2.2). Ithaca NY. Available online at:

  • 2021 Alumni Award for Excellence in International Outreach, Virginia Tech
  • 2021 Global Faculty Scholar, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Virginia Tech
  • 2017 Marcia Guttentag Promising New Evaluator Award; American Evaluation Association
  • 2017 Named Editorial Board Member of New Directions for Evaluation
  • 2016 Excellence in Extension Program Evaluation Award; American Evaluation Association Extension Education Evluation Topical Interest Group
  • 2013 Michael Scriven Dissertation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Evaluation Theory, Method, or Practice; Interdisciplinary Evaluation Program, Western Michigan University