Have a Party to Share Evaluation Results! by Kendra Lewis

Greetings! I am Kendra Lewis, Evaluation Coordinator for the California 4-H Youth Development Program at University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources. Today I am going to share my experience with a “data party” as a way to engage stakeholders in evaluation data. We recently held a one-day workshop with 4-H camp staff (youth and adults) to review evaluation data collected at their camps last summer. We had nearly 30 people representing 6 camps attend. We presented results from across the state as a whole as well as specific results for each camp. Evaluation data was collected from two sources: youth campers and teen camp staff. I presented data in multiple representations (graphs, tables, word clouds) and posed open-ended prompts to initiate conversation.

Lessons Learned: Participants loved having the opportunity to explore the data, discuss what they thought the results meant, and formulate action plans with their camp team. The data party made the results accessible and understandable. All camps signed up to participate in the evaluation again, and we already have our next data party planned for Fall 2017 after this summer’s camps.

Hot Tip: Start with a “gallery walk” that gives an overview of the results. We had large posters that presented data from the state results, and had small groups of people walk around to review the posters. We made sure to mix youth with adults, and to put people from different camps together to ensure diversity in camp experiences.

Hot Tip: Create a “data placemat” for each site. We made a data placemat that was specific to each camp that they could review with their team. We made a placement for camper data and a placemat for the teen data so that the data could be reviewed separately for those different experiences.

Hot Tip: Word clouds are a great way to introduce qualitative data. Before giving attendees all the qualitative data, we presented word clouds so as not to overwhelm them. After reviewing the word clouds, each camp had the opportunity to go over all their qualitative data in full.

Rad Resource: Check out all these great ideas and pins from Kylie Hutchinson on data parties.

Rad Resource: See the Innovation Network’s slide deck on Data Placemats for more information about this cool tool.

Gallery Walk
Gallery Walk
Reviewing Data Placemats
Reviewing Data Placemats

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.

6 thoughts on “Have a Party to Share Evaluation Results! by Kendra Lewis”

  1. Hi Kendra,

    I was very intrigued by your article! I think that organizing a ‘data party’ as a way to engage stakeholders in evaluation data is brilliant. As I study Program Evaluation at Queen’s University, I’ve realized the importance of involving stakeholders to improve evaluation use because a major dilemma is preventing evaluations from being completed but then never being applied. Therefore, if stakeholders are deeply involved in the process then it is more likely an evaluation, and its data, will be effectively applied and used by a program. Hosting a workshop that is diverse and inclusive is a great way to present data in a less intimidating and supportive environment.

    I believe that ‘data parties’ would be a great way to discuss educational data across many different levels. Your ‘Hot Tips’ offered innovative ways to view results! I really like the idea of starting with a gallery walk. A soft start to the workshop allows participants to mingle amongst the room, sharing and respectively challenging ideas. I also liked your ‘data placemat’ idea that was specific to each team – just another technique designed to enhance stakeholder understanding of data!

    Thank you for sharing the additional resources!


    1. Hi Taylor,

      Thanks for your comments! It was a great opportunity to get the camp staff really engaged in the data, and I think it’s something they new plan to do annually. I am trying to expand it to other programs we have, given the success! If you have any questions, I’m happy to chat with you!

  2. Hello Kendra Lewis,
    As part of my work on a Masters degree in Education through Queens University in Kingston, On. I came across your article here on the AEA365 site. I wanted to reach out to you because I found your article to be very interesting! While engaging in the study of program evaluation I had always considered the output of my activities to be a rather dull report. I hadn’t considered the vastly more engaging reporting strategies you discussed here.
    While it looks like you were sharing this with a group of both youths and adults I can see that this would be a great way of sharing the results with any grouping. Thank you so much for sharing your insights into methods for enhancing evaluation use through engagement!
    Ian Anderson

    1. Hi Ian,

      I definitely think this would work for any grouping. For us, it was so great to get our youth involved because they do a lot of the camp planning. I plan to find other ways to use this method to share results!

  3. Hello Kendra,

    I really enjoyed your post on the AEA365 Blog from February 24, 2017. Your idea/technique of hosting a “data party” for your stakeholder is brilliant!

    I have been learning in my Program Evaluation masters course at Queen’s University how important it is to engage stakeholders in the evaluation process to better enhance evaluation use. As an elementary school teacher I have been struggling to think of ways that I could actively engage stakeholders in understanding ‘data’, especially when many of the people in our community have low levels of education. The idea of ‘data’ and research tend to be intimidating to most of the community, but they do have a desire to be involved and improve our school and community programming.

    Your example has provided me with a tangible way to make ‘data’ accessible and less intimidating for a diverse group of people. Your lesson learned and numerous hot tips really helped me understand the activities you planned for the ‘party’.

    Lastly thanks for sharing the extra resources! Who knew that the world of ‘data parties’ was on Pintrest!

    Monique Webb

    1. Hi Monique!

      I’m so glad you found this useful! Our group loved it and they are excited for the next one in fall. I’m happy to answer any questions about planning! And Pinterest is an awesome resources–I too was surprised by how many evaluation resources are there!

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