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

Apr/15

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Catherine Nameth on Internal evaluation . . . and other responsibilities

Hi, my name is Catherine Nameth, and I’m the Education Coordinator for an NSF- and EPA-funded research center at the University of California- Los Angeles. As Education Coordinator, my primary job is not evaluation, so I have to act creatively in order to integrate evaluation into my work and balance the need for internal evaluation with my other administrative and research responsibilities.

Hot Tip: Be an active learner and an active listener. Get to know your colleagues and their areas of expertise. Go to meetings, listen, and be open to learning about your colleagues and what they do. Your understanding of them and their work will inform your understanding of your organization as well as its people and programs/research. This understanding can then inform how you design surveys and collect evaluation data. People who know you are more likely to respond to your surveys and other “official” evaluation requests, and when they respond, you get the information you need!

Rad Resource: Map it out! Use Community Solutions’ map for “How Traditional Planning and Evaluation Interact.” This map displays how an evaluation logic model (inputs-activities-outputs-outcomes) situated horizontally interacts with program planning (goals-objectives-activities-time frame & budget) which is modeled vertically. In using this map, you’ll see that the “activities” of each model intersect, and this cohesive visual aid also serves as a reminder that program planning goals and evaluation outcomes should- and can- inform one another. Use this map to keep yourself focused, which is really important when your primary responsibilities include many aspects other than evaluation, and to help you show your organization’s leadership what you are doing and why you are doing it.

Hot Tip: Have an elevator pitch at the ready. When your work includes evaluation but is not entirely about evaluation, you need to be able to explain quickly and concisely what you are evaluating, why you are evaluating it, what information you need, and how your colleagues can help you by providing this needed information . . . which they will be more willing to do if they know you!

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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  • Ashley · November 7, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with internal evaluation. I was drawn to your post because I have recently started doing some internal evaluation within my role, but it is not my primary job. The information you have shared is very relevant to me. Your tip about being an active listener and learner with colleagues is wonderful advice. I can see how the knowledge gained would help inform me when it comes time to design survey questions and collect evaluation data. The resource you shared is a wonderful visual of the interaction between the logic model and program planning. It is a clear reminder of program planning goals and evaluation outcomes interacting with one another. Your tips and resource are very practical and are going to be helpful to me as I integrate internal evaluation into my work.

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