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

Nov/17

14

¡Milwaukee Evaluation! Week: Using Infographics to Disseminate Key Findings by Rose Hennessy

Greetings! I’m Rose Hennessy, Adjunct Professor in the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare and a Doctoral Student at the Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health, both at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In teaching Program Evaluation to MSW students, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to collaborate with Jennifer Grove and Mo Lewis at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC).

In the short duration of a semester, it can be difficult to provide students the opportunity to practice engaging with stakeholders and translate evaluation findings. In conjunction with NSVRC staff, we proactively identified recent research articles of interest for sexual violence prevention practitioners. Busy professionals frequently do not have time or access to recent publications, but in academia we can play a role in getting current research out in digestible ways! Students are assigned articles and asked to create infographics of key themes and implications to meet stakeholder needs.

Lessons Learned:

  • Students learn a new technology best with hands-on learning. A free infographic program is taught to the class in a computer lab where they can learn and practice. Walking through skills step-by-step with a guided handout promotes a new skill and program.
  • Assignment scaffolding models the stakeholder process. Four different assignments are used for the project, allowing for feedback, revisions, and reflection. Students review the NSVRC website for content, design, and values. They critique their article to pull content specific to the stakeholder, create and present the infographic, and use class feedback to reflect and create revisions.
  • Presenting infographics allows for shared learning of evaluation concepts. Students review creative ways to share qualitative and quantitative findings, examine different study designs, discuss how to present null findings, explore various visualization options, and gain experience utilizing critical feedback from peers.
  • More time is needed to promote culturally responsive evaluation. Research with diverse populations was intentionally chosen for review, but many students lack prior experience translating findings across cultures. Providing readings to assist students, setting up ground rules, and allowing more time for reflection and discussion is necessary to help students process evaluation results in a culturally-responsive manner. Conversations also highlighted the need to differentiate between collaborative approaches and culturally-responsive evaluation, and new readings have been identified for future courses.

As an instructor, a collaborative project with NSVRC provides students the opportunity for learning with real-world applications. There was high motivation for the creation of projects that can be used by a national leader in the field, and students leave the class with new skills in the translation of research, study design, visualization, and dissemination!

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating ¡Milwaukee Evaluation! Week with our colleagues in the Wisconsin statewide AEA Affiliate. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our ¡Milwaukee Evaluation! 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.

2 comments

  • Miette Beynon · November 16, 2017 at 3:35 am

    Hello,

    Thanks for demonstrating how to balance infographics as a means to make large amounts of information more easily digestible to our audiences with the necessity of making sure that those platforms are adequately expressing the gravity of certain issues.

    In my graduate studies, we’ve been discussing the complexity of examining evaluation in the face of the massive socio-economic factors that can influence any program and one of the questions that was asked was the functionality of infographics to properly demonstrate the complexity of these issues. How do you stop yourself from going down the rabbit hole of factors that influence statistics? One in five women will be sexually assaulted in her life. Native Americans are twice as likely to experience sexual violence. 54% of sexual assault victims are under 30.

    Do you think there is any potential worry with infographics putting issues into too small a box? Or is it just realistically the most effective way to spread information to the largest number of stakeholders in the most efficient way possible? What instructions were your students given when compiling their Piktocharts?

    Although I see the connection with infographics being a valuable resource for conveying findings in ways in which people will actually read them, it must be a tricky job in reality when from within the program itself, everything seems relevant.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  • Erin · November 15, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    Hi Sheila,
    What a wonderful way to get students to learn a new tool and at the same time have a very purposeful and important reason to do it! You fully are making the learning authentic and relevant. Thank you for sharing the resource of Piktochart. It looks fantastic! My students are currently working with how to share information about sustainability and water use. They have been brainstorming ideas about posters and presentations but I am excited to bring the idea of infographics to them. It is wonderful that this resource seems very user friendly. I myself immediately signed up after reading your article. When registering I was curious why there was no option for: Teacher – below the age of 13, since my students are 10 years old. (I chose the Teaching students age 13-17.) But that is a minor issue. I also really appreciate that you identified key elements of “feedback, revisions, and reflection.” So often the focus is on the completed product and not the process.
    I look forward to applying what I have read into my classroom!
    Cheers, ~Erin

    Reply

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