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

Apr/10

28

Sally Bond on Peer Review to Improve Evaluation Consulting Practice and Reports

My name is Sally L. Bond, President & Senior Consultant, The Program Evaluation Group, LLC. In 2004, Marilyn Ray (Finger Lakes Law & Social Policies Center, Inc.) and I began development of a peer review process for the American Evaluation Association’s Independent Consulting TIG. One of the defining objectives of the IC TIG is to provide members, especially sole proprietors and those in very small firms who often “fly without a net,” with support mechanisms to enhance the quality of their evaluation work. Therefore, we conceptualized the IC TIG’s peer review process as a professional development opportunity for our members, both reviewers and reviewees. The peer-review process engages professional evaluation colleagues to serve as critical reviewers of other colleagues’ evaluation reports with the purpose of providing feedback to inform and improve their practice.

Rad Resources: Although participation in the IC TIG’s double-blind peer review process is currently available only to members of the IC TIG*, the peer review guidelines and framework are accessible to anyone who is interested in improving the quality of written evaluation reports. You can find them online in the public AEA eLibrary at http://bit.ly/ICReview. The IC TIG’s “Framework for Peer Reviewers, Evaluation Reports” addresses many of the issues and report elements covered in the “Evaluation Report Checklist” by Gary Miron of Western Michigan University; see: http://www.wmich.edu/evalctr/checklists/checklistmenu.htm. The checklist is a useful tool for designing reports and collaborating with colleagues and clients on report preparation. The IC TIG’s peer review framework was developed for a different purpose. It was specifically designed to elicit detailed written feedback from professional peers who have technical expertise in program evaluation.

Hot Tip: Are you interested in doing some self-guided professional development in report writing? Use the “Framework for Peer Reviewers, Evaluation Reports” as a guide to reflect more deeply on the quality of your written work.

Hot Tip: Would you like to start a professional peer learning group in your evaluation office or company? Use the “Guidelines for Peer Reviewers” to orient colleagues to the purpose and expectations of the peer review process, then use the “Framework for Peer Reviewers, Evaluation Reports” to structure the group learning process.

Hot Tip: Are you part of a large organization that wants to initiate an internal double-blind peer review process? Use the “Instructions for Evaluators Submitting an Evaluation Report for Peer Review” and the “Submitting Evaluator Cover Sheet” to gather contextual information that is relevant to the review of the submitted report.

Hot Tip: Are you providing technical assistance to evaluation consumers who have little knowledge of what constitutes a really good evaluation report? Use the “Framework for Peer Reviewers, Evaluation Reports” to develop appropriate expectations for high quality deliverables.

*Both AEA and the IC TIG welcome new members. All members of the IC TIG are members of AEA. You can join the association – and subsequently the IC TIG – online at http://www.eval.org/membership.asp. Every AEA member may join up to five TIGs at no additional cost.

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