AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

Jan/13

6

Bloggers Series: Fatima Frank on Chronicling Impact

Hello, my name is Fatima Frank. I am the Evaluation Specialist for evalû, a small consulting firm that focuses exclusively on rigorous evaluations of social and economic development initiatives. We champion impact evaluation that maintains academic rigor but is based entirely on our clients’ need to improve strategic and operational effectiveness and increase profitability.

Rad Resource – Chronicling Impact: After some very successful field experiences with our clients, we decided a blog was in order to chronicle our experiences and start new conversations about creating and implementing rigorous evaluations around the globe. Having completed evaluations in seven countries across three continents, it made sense for our team’s field experiences, challenges, and ways of problem solving to inform our blogging. We also like to mix it up and feature interviews with professionals we either work with in the field or just admire for their own great work. We call our blog “Chronicling Impact” and we post new content monthly.

Hot Tips – We’ve loved putting together every one of our posts, but here are a few favorites:

  • How to handle sensitive topics when designing focus groups: As evaluators, we face two big questions: How do we know if an intervention is working, and how can we appropriately measure outcomes? Here, we explore the use of a Participatory Ranking Method to complement quantitative data around the sensitive topic of gender-based violence.
  • Three basic evaluation presentations: With limited time in the field and lots of information to transfer, we suggest three basic workshops to present early in the evaluation process to increase field team buy-in and ensure a successful evaluation once we leave the country.

Lessons Learned – Why I blog: Being part of a global team, with colleagues and clients spread around the world, blogging allows me to share my experiences not only among my team but also to others who face similar challenges. As an evaluator, storytelling is a valuable asset and blogging allows me to hone this skill. It’s also a nice break from writing evaluation reports!

Lessons Learned – What I’ve learned: When blogging, it’s important to remember who you’re writing for. For us, we are trying to start a dialogue with our audience, while at the same time chronicling some of our successes and resources we have found valuable. Unlike some of the more technical writing we do, blogging is unique because it is styled much like a conversation. To attract readers, make your blog informative but not so formal. It should take on a casual tone and self-promotion should be limited!

This winter, we’re continuing our series highlighting evaluators who blog. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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