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

Jan/14

17

Dayna Albert and Rochelle Zorzi on Evaluations that Make a Difference: Stories from Around the World

We are Dayna Albert (Project Coordinator) and Rochelle Zorzi (Editorial Board Co-chair) of the Evaluation Stories Project, an EvalPartners Innovation Challenge recipient. Our project will soon launch an International Call for Evaluation Stories. The purpose is to:

  • Identify and share stories of evaluations that have made a difference
  • Increase the demand for and use of evaluation

Minimal literature exists on the benefits or impacts of evaluation use, particularly from the perspective of evaluation users. Furthermore, most evaluation literature is very academic. Our project will employ a story-telling format in order to better communicate the benefits of evaluation use to evaluation users.

As an international project, one of our challenges is to reach a multilingual audience despite limited translation resources. A second challenge is to explain what we mean by evaluation impact – a concept that turns evaluative thinking on its head and tends to be misconstrued.

Lessons Learned: Anticipate that people may have difficulty ‘getting’ a new concept. Words alone can be inadequate and ambiguous.

Use story to explain new concepts. Here is a story that Chris Lysy helped us develop to explain the concept of evaluation impacts.

(Click here to see the video!)image005

 

Hot Tip:

–        Follow-up with clients after an evaluation to reflect on and track evaluation impacts.

–        Act now! The Call for Evaluation Stories is a great opportunity to reconnect with a client and explore their interest in participating in the Call for Evaluation Stories

 

Rad Resource:

–        To reach a multilingual online audience, add Google’s Website Translate plug-in to your website. Albeit imperfect, it provides a free and virtually instantaneous website translation.

–        To translate a blog, paste the following code into a text widget. Insert your blog’s URL where indicated. The code is written for English (en) to French (fr) translation. For English to Spanish translation, replace ‘fr’ with ‘sp’ and ‘français’ with ‘español’.

<a href=”//translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2FyourblogURL&amp;hl=fr&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;sl=en&amp;tl=fr”” title=””français“”><img src=”http://yourblogURL /2010/02/icons-flag-gb.png” alt=”français” /></a>

Get Involved:

Rad Resources: See these posts for additional information on evaluation stories:

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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3 comments

  • Peter Rod · March 13, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Ms. Albert and Ms. Zorzi, I am so pleased to have come across your blog entry about evaluation impact and story telling. Your initiative is a great one since there really is nothing more satisfying than seeing the positive impact various policies and programs can have on their intended benefactors. Everyone loves a good story after all and I for one will visit your site on a regular basis.

    I am currently pursuing my M.Ed at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada and am in the midst of studying program inquiry and evaluation. My own program of inquiry is the letters of accommodation program at Niagara College, where I teach as a faculty member. This program is intended to remove barriers of learning for students with physical or learning disabilities by providing access to note takers, extra time for exams or study, advance notice of assignments or other evaluations and specialized computer software designed to help them with reading, note-taking or listening. It is an excellent and important program and I feel confident that by the time I have completed my evaluation of the LOA program that all stakeholders will have been given a voice, that my research will hold rigor and that my recommendations could indeed help to make positive changes in the program going forward. Some of my recommendations might even get used but what real impact will my efforts have on the students who utilize the program and how could I possibly measure these impacts? This data is very difficult to measure considering the sheer number of students using the program (in a multitude of degrees) and the endless possible reasons for success or failure in school. As mentioned, the ultimate goal is to eliminate all controllable barriers to learning in the college environment thus giving our students the maximum opportunity to reach their academic best but how do we measure this and relate it to changes in the LOA program itself? Perhaps simply asking students to share their thoughts on the program after using it and the impact it’s had on their confidence, engagement and academic standing is enough for a good story. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this. Thank you.

    Reply

  • Keith Bernados · September 10, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    You have hit on an important issue, for the evaluation being done is any of it actually being used? If it is used is it only considered useful to a client if it just reinforces a prior held opinion or position? Is it necessary to evaluate the evaluations?

    That said I agree with your idea of using stories to make an evaluation more understandable to the client. I have read a couple of articles in the popular press that repeat the concept that humans are story telling creatures, that we create narratives to understand and manage the outside world. Evidence that this is true, I believe is visible in presidential politcs where the politician that presents voters with the most appealing story/narrative will win the white House.

    Reply

  • Pablo Rodriguez-Bilella · January 17, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Great post, Dayna and Rochelle! I would like to add that we are also in Twitter (@EvalStories), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/evalstories), and Google Plus (http://goo.gl/RQ5Op0).

    Reply

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