Bloggers Week: Carrie Tanasichuk on

I’m Carrie Tanasichuk, a relatively new evaluation blogger. I currently work in the Program Research & Development department at the YMCA of Greater Toronto, where we support the Association to assess impact and improve programming across the YMCA as well as in the larger community.

Rad Resource – Broadly speaking, my blog is about anything to do with research and evaluation. I’m a social psychologist by training and my favourite thing to write about is how social psychological theory can be useful to evaluation. I also find data visualization fascinating and I like to posts tips and tricks that I learn. I’m currently branching out and learning R, and I would like to start posting about that in the future.

Hot Tips: Favorite posts:

  • Measuring attitudes that predict behaviours – Using attitudinal survey questions to predict future behaviour is something that comes up repeatedly when discussing the external validity of evaluation findings. In this post I look at the theory behind attitudes predicting behaviour.
  • Developing valid self-report measures – Self-report measures are widely used in evaluation, but lately I’ve come across several people (not evaluators) who are quick to dismiss them. I wanted to do some background research on how to make self-report measures as valid as possible.
  • A simple GIF illustrating dataviz principles – I didn’t create this GIF, but I love how it communicates a lot of principles very simply. I’ve shared it with a lot of people and they’ve all loved it, too.

Lessons Learned: Why I blog: I’ve kept a personal blog in one form or another for over 12 years. I’ve blogged about everything from cooking, running, knitting, and backpacking! I first came across evaluation blogs 3 years ago when I started reading AEA365. I toyed with the idea of starting an evaluation blog but I was hesitant – would I have anything valuable to add to the conversation? Would anyone even read my posts? I finally decided to take the plunge and I’ve been overwhelmed at how friendly and welcoming other evaluation bloggers have been!

Lessons Learned: What I’ve learned: I sometimes hesitate to publish a post if I don’t feel like I’m an “expert” on the topic. I read a tip from Susan Kistler that you can blog as a fellow learner, rather than as an expert. I think this is wonderful advice and something that I have tried to take to heart. Another lesson learned is to constantly draft posts. Whenever I have an idea for a post I quickly create a draft and jot down some notes. Sometimes I go back and flesh it out to be a full post (and sometimes the draft will sit there forever collecting dust).

This winter, we’re continuing our occasional 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 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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