Gene Shackman on Evaluation Resources Available on the Web
I’m Gene Shackman, an applied sociologist in Albany, NY. One of the main projects I work on is managing the website “Free Resources for Program Evaluation and Social Research Methods”, http://gsociology.icaap.org/methods/. I also wrote a set of beginner guides about evaluation, describing, for the general public, various aspects of evaluation and it’s methods.
I’ve been an evaluator for a number of years, and a participant in AEA’s evaluation email list (eval-talk) for a similar number of years. In that time, I’ve seen people post all sorts of questions to the eval-talk list, on a real wide variety of topics. Some of these are directly related to evaluation. Some are more about the technology that evaluators use, such as computers. Whatever the question, in many cases, there is information available on the web about the questions.
Rad Resource: For example, one person asked about ‘types’ of evaluation. One source, William M.K. Trochim’s Research Methods Knowledge Base, basically talks about two ‘types’ of evaluation. 1. Formative: Evaluating what goes into the intervention or program and 2. Summative: Evaluating what comes out of the intervention or program. Implementation is a kind of formative, in this view, and impact is a kind of summative. http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/intreval.htm.
Rad Resource: Some questions are about resources used to do evaluation. One person posted a link that listed what statistical software packages are available. But this was pretty much only a list. There are also various sites that review some of these packages. For example, this Citizendium page (http://bit.ly/citizendium) gives an overview of free statistical software. John C. Pezzullo’s website (http://statpages.org/javasta2.html) and this one lists packages, but also includes a paragraph or two about each package. http://en.freestatistics.info/stat.php
Rad Resource: Other questions are about computers or technology questions, common to any business. For example, Susan Kistler posted a note to the AEA 365 tip-a-day about finding out who is linking to your website (http://aea365.org/blog/?p=843). There is also something from the opposite side: link Checker, (http://validator.w3.org/checklink). For folks who have websites with links to other sites, this will check the links on your website to say whether you need to update them, change them, drop them. I’ve used it for a couple of years and it works pretty well.
All in all, quite a lot can be found on the web!