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

TAG | social investment

Hi everyone. I’m Isabelle Collins, evaluation principal at the New Zealand Social Policy Research and Evaluation Unit (Superu).

With increasing focus on a social investment approach, and the need for data to feed that, and moves towards outcome based contracting in the social sector, the role of evaluation (and evaluative thinking) is increasingly important.

Lesson Learned:

We found, while delivering training to service providers and contract managers that people were bemused by language (especially the cavalier way evaluation hijacks some words in common usage) and needed simple introductions to complex concepts that enabled them to have sensible conversations.

Rad Resource:

Based on the training, we have produced a free handbook on Making Sense of Evaluation an easy-to-read guide that will take you from the conceptual and theoretical to the firmly practical, accompanied by the cutest of penguins along the way.

Information is presented in four modules covering preparation, logic models, measuring impact, and commissioning and managing an evaluation. There are examples, diagrams, hot tips, case studies and lots of pointers to other, more detailed, references.

We find that the penguin case study helps people look beyond their (often difficult) daily experience and understand concepts before applying labels, so they can begin to adapt their practice to meet new requirements from a position of knowledge.

Rad Resource:

The handbook is just one of several resources for the community and voluntary sector on the Superu website, designed to help people build and use evidence for impact.

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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