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

Feb/11

20

Kylie Hutchinson on High Impact Low Tech Reporting Options

My name is Kylie Hutchinson.  I am an independent evaluation consultant and trainer with Community Solutions Planning & Evaluation.  I am one of the facilitators of the Canadian Evaluation Society’s Essential Skills Series course in Canada and regularly present a workshop on Effective Reporting Techniques for Evaluators at AEA conferences and the AEA Summer Institute.  I also Twitter on an occasional basis @EvaluationMaven.

One of the biggest trends in evaluation I’ve observed over the past few years is the explosion in interest and software regarding improved data visualization such as interactive online reporting tools and info graphics.  These programs are fantastic, nifty, and have totally rocked my world as an evaluator.  Better yet, many are free.  However, some of the fancier ones can be pricey for the average evaluator.  I think it’s important for evaluators to remember that improving your reporting doesn’t have to involve high tech.  Depending on your target audience, there are many low tech ways to effectively communicate your results.

Rad resource: Flipchart paper.  It’s not just for facilitation anymore!  I often print the main findings of an evaluation on two to three pieces of flipchart and hang it in a central area where my target audience will see it, such as a lunch room or community medical clinic.  I’ve even hung them in bathroom stalls with a pen so people can make comments.  I realize this isn’t appropriate for every evaluation, but sometimes you may be surprised.

Hot Tip: People don’t necessarily read your reports.  It hurts, I know, but think about how many final reports you personally have stacked in your own office right now.  We’re all going to get to them someday…someday.  Until two years go by and then we feel justified in recycling them.  If you want to see your evaluation findings and recommendations utilized, think outside the box report!

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Data Visualization and Reporting Week with our colleagues in the new DVR AEA Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our DVR members and you may wish to consider subscribing to our weekly headlines and resources list where we’ll be highlighting DVR resources. 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.

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