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

Feb/15

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EERS Week: Lacy Fabian on an Age Old Evaluation Challenge

Hi. My name is Lacy Fabian, and I’m a healthcare quality researcher with MITRE in Woodlawn, MD. In addition to my work in healthcare quality, I am a preceptor for advanced pharmacy students. As a board member for the Eastern Evaluation Research Society (EERS), my AEA local affiliate, it’s my pleasure to welcome you to EERS week on AEA365. This week, some of our members will be sharing lessons learned, hot tips and rad resources in the evaluation field.

As tends to be the case for many, I came to evaluation via an indirect path and professional societies like EERS and AEA have been mainstays in my continuing professional development, as well as outlets for giving back to the field. This has been particularly true in learning how to talk about evaluation with others from colleagues to clients. “What is evaluation?” continues to be a challenge, as many are only familiar with a small branch of evaluation, if at all.

Lesson Learned: In the last few years the dialogue around evaluation has improved. People are increasingly aware of the presence of evaluation in their daily lives from education to healthcare to spending on government programs. That type of shift doesn’t occur only at the programmatic and policy level, but also through personal interactions. In meetings or workgroups there are often opportunities for an evaluator to employ their methods to solve challenges at hand—think process maps or logic models.

Lesson Learned: Interacting with the field via a niche or sweet spot that you’ve identified helps connect evaluation to new areas and build understanding of what it can offer. For example, you may present your evaluation findings at subject matter conferences, mentor students, give a guest lecture on the importance of evaluation to a particular discipline, or volunteer your expertise to a community effort that resonates with you.

Hot Tip: Take advantage of daily evaluation resources, whether it be through AEA blogs, journal article alerts or LinkedIn groups—to see the field as a whole and when shifts or challenges are occurring.

Rad Resource: Registration is open for the 38th Annual EERS Conference, which will be held April 26-28, 2015. The theme is “Let’s Get Real: Evaluation Challenges and Solutions,” and we hope to see you there to exchange ideas about your evaluation lessons learned.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Eastern Evaluation Research Society (EERS) Affiliate Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from EERS members. 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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