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

Dec/12

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Susan Kistler on a New Excel Learning Resource Customized for Evaluators

My name is Susan Kistler. I am the American Evaluation Association’s Executive Director and aea365’s regular Saturday contributor. Back in May of 2011, Alex da Silva wrote a great aea365 post on Expanding Your Capacity With Microsoft Excel, suggesting resources for beginner, intermediate, and advanced Excel users. Today, I have something new to add to the list, brought to you by one of aea365’s most frequent contributors.

Rad Resource – Excel [Tutorials] for Evaluation: Ann Emery, intrepid Adventures as a Nonprofit and Foundations Evaluator blogger, regular aea365 contributor, consultant, AEA member, and all around wonderful person has put together a set of video tutorials specifically targeted to evaluators. I asked Ann a few questions about why she took on this task.

Why did you make these videos? Excel is a great tool for data analysis – if you know how to use it. If you’re trying to learn more about Excel, a simple internet search will return dozens of websites, blogs, and videos. However, existing Excel resources often focus on accounting data, so it’s hard to figure out how to apply those techniques to our research and evaluation projects. I created Excel for Evaluation to show beginner- and intermediate-level Excel users how to analyze data from their own research and evaluation projects. Each video is 1-4 minutes long and uses examples from real projects.

What types of skills are covered in the tutorials? I’m teaching a range of skills and techniques. The tutorials cover everything from “housekeeping” skills, like how to freeze panes and use filters to organize your dataset, to descriptive statistics and pivot tables.

Why videos? Data analysis is a process – not a one-time event – in which we clean and recode variables, then explore initial patterns in the data, and eventually move towards more advanced analyses. Sometimes it’s easier to watch the process than read about it in a textbook. I created these videos for people who learn better by watching and listening than by reading.

Hot Tip – Keep Checking Back: Ann is adding to the set of video tutorials on an ongoing basis.

Rad Resource – Example Video: Here, Ann is showing how to transform the case of text in Excel cells using the lower, upper, and proper functions, the latter of which changes text to title case, with the first letter of each word capitalized. Very cool!

Hot Tip – Go Deep: Register for January’s eStudy from AEA with Ann and Agata Jose-Ivanina focusing on Creating and Automating Dashboards Using Microsoft Word and Excel. This 3-hour webinar-based workshop is aimed at those with an intermediate level background in Excel.  The last day to register is Tuesday, January 8.

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.

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3 comments

  • Ann Emery · January 7, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Maureen and Mindy,

    Glad you’re finding the tutorials useful! Please stay in touch and let me know how your own Excel trainings go.

    Best of luck! Ann

    Reply

  • Maureen Cochran · January 2, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Ann, thank you for this timely blog post! I’ll be working with our Assessment Council next week on using Excel for Student Affairs Assessment. You just made my job easier 🙂

    Reply

  • Mindy King · December 30, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Ann Emery’s tutorials are wonderful…just what I have been looking for as I attempt to help small internal evaluators of smaller non-profits manage their own data and analysis. I will be sharing these with many!

    Thank you, Ann!

    Reply

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