To describe the designs and methods used in published Australian health promotion evaluation articles between 1992 and 2011.Using a content analysis approach, we reviewed 157 articles to analyse patterns and trends in designs and methods in Australian health promotion evaluation articles. The purpose was to provide empirical evidence about the types of designs and methods used.The most common type of evaluation conducted was impact evaluation. Quantitative designs were used exclusively in more than half of the articles analysed. Almost half the evaluations utilised only one data collection method. Surveys were the most common data collection method used. Few articles referred explicitly to an intended evaluation outcome or benefit and references to published evaluation models or frameworks were rare.This is the first time Australian-published health promotion evaluation articles have been empirically investigated in relation to designs and methods. There appears to be little change in the purposes, overall designs and methods of published evaluations since 1992.More methodologically transparent and sophisticated published evaluation articles might be instructional, and even motivational, for improving evaluation practice and result in better public health interventions and outcomes.