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

TAG | Workshops

I caught up with Laurie Stevehn after her full-day workshop: Strategies for Interactive Evaluation, which she presented with Jean King to an engaged and eager group of evaluators who came from a diverse background of cultures and work settings.

Why did you choose this topic for Evaluation 2016?

Laurie has spent 20-25 years working in participatory evaluation for capacity building and thinks evaluatively about bringing people together. This workshop draws on the strategies and methods covered in Interactive Evaluation Practice: Mastering the Interpersonal Dynamics of Program Evaluation which she co-authored with Jean King. No matter your approach to evaluation, you have to engage and interact with people. This workshops helps attendees identify best approaches that can be applied to organizations or programs. In this workshop attendees think through the strategies so when they walk out of the doors, they now have a plan in place.

Did you learn anything form other’s experiences?

The attendees in Laurie’s workshop were very engaging and eager to share their experiences and examples from their practices. Sometimes the experience was a variation on the strategies presented and sometimes the attendee’s brought their own challenges. In today’s workshop, Jean and Laurie spent time discussing the challenge of dominant personalities and how to handle these situations while keeping the conversation inclusive.

What are you looking forward to at the conference?

While in Atlanta, Laurie is excited to attend sessions that deal with participatory evaluation and have lots of engagement. She enjoys sessions that share the most recent research on evaluation. She is particularly looking forward to seeing Mel Mark and Michael Quinn Patton who are great theorist and stay on top of research on evaluation.

How do you benefit from AEA?

Laurie has been an AEA Member since 1995. She always finds AEA members friendly and ready to share. The key leaders in evaluations make themselves readily available and accessible to all attendees. She finds it humbling to be a part of an organization and community that focuses so much on the greater good for humanity and community.

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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My name is Lars Balzer, I am head of the Evaluation Unit at the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (SFIVET) and also responsible for the Evaluation Portal.

Congresses, conferences, workshops, lectures, and continuing education programs are excellent opportunities to learn new things about evaluation, discuss interesting topics and exchange ideas with colleagues.

Rad Resource: The Evaluation Portal Event Calendar is an international calendar for evaluation-related events that can help you find such settings. Currently you can find an evaluation-related event there on average about every 3rd day in 2014.

Clipped from http://www.evaluation.lars-balzer.name/calendar/

Hot Tip: To find an event, simply browse through the calendar and filter events by selecting one or more subcategories from the main categories: “continent”, “country”, “language” and “type of event” so that only events which fit your criteria are shown.

We also have “Featured”, “Most Popular” and “Newest” so that you can find upcoming events, events which have received the most clicks from site visitors, or events newly added to the calendar. Of course you can also do a specific search for a particular event.

Cool Trick: You can subscribe to a newsletter which sends you information about events in the categories you have chosen about once a month. There are also several RSS-feeds available. Various web 2.0 options can be used to share information, and you can also download events to your personal calendar.

Get Involved: Are you responsible for an evaluation-related event? Every event related to evaluation can be registered, so if you know about one not already included, feel free to submit it. Information about your event will be spread to the global evaluation community. It’s a great way to get people to learn about your event.

If you run events on a regular basis, I can also build a separate organizer page and all your events will then be linked with this page.

All this is a free of charge, private and independent service – just check it out.

Rad Resource: The Event Calendar is just one section of the Evaluation Portal. There is also the Link Collection with more than 550 individually described and approved links to evaluation books, journals, downloadable guides and handbooks, free and commercial tools, businesses, and much more.

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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I’m Cheryl Poth and I am an assistant professor at the Centre for Applied Studies in Measurement and Evaluation in the department of Educational Psychology, Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. My area of research is focused on how developmental evaluators build evaluation capacity within their organizations. My use of mixed methods is pragmatically-driven, that is, I use it when the research/evaluation question(s) require the integration of both qualitative themes and quantitative measures to generate a more comprehensive understanding. Most recently, my work within research teams has provided the impetus for research and writing about the role of a mixed methods practitioner within such teams.

Lessons Learned:

  • Develop and teach courses. In 2010, I developed (and offered) a doctoral mixed methods research (MMR) course in response to the demand from graduate students for opportunities to gain skills within MMR. The course was oversubscribed and at the end of the term we formed a mixed methods reading group, which continues to provide support as students are working their way through their research process. I am fortunate to be able to offer this course again this winter and already it is full!
  • Offer workshops. To help build MMR capacity, I have offered workshops in a variety of locations, most recently at the 9th Annual Qualitative Research Summer Intensive held in Chapel Hill, NC in late summer and at the 13th Thinking Qualitatively Workshop Series offered by the International Institute for Qualitative Methodology held in Edmonton, AB in early summer. These workshops remind me of the reality for many researchers that their graduate programs required completion of an advanced research methods course that was either qualitatively- or quantitatively-focused and of the need to build a community of MM researchers and that the community can exist locally or using technology can exist globally! It has been a pleasure to watch as new and experienced researchers begin to learn about MMR designs and integration procedures.
  • Join a community. One of the places where I have begun to find my community MM researchers was through a group currently working on forming the International Association of Mixed Methods, at the International Mixed Methods conference, and the mixed methods researchers on Methodspace.

Hot Tip:

Rad Resource:

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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Hello, I am Carolyn Cohen, owner of Cohen Research & Evaluation, LLC, based in Seattle Washington. I specialize in program evaluation and strategic learning related to innovations in the social change and education arenas.  I have been infusing elements of Appreciative Inquiry into my work for many years.  Appreciative Inquiry is an asset-based approach, developed by David Cooperrider in the 1980s for use in organizational development. It is more recently applied in evaluation, following the release of Reframing Evaluation through Appreciative Inquiry by Hallie Preskill and Tessie Catsambas in 2006.

 Lessons Learned:

Appreciative Inquiry was originally conceived as a multi-stage process, often requiring a long-term time commitment. This comprehensive approach is called for in certain circumstances. However, in my practice I usually infuse discrete elements of Appreciative Inquiry on a smaller scale.  Following are two examples.

  • Launching a Theory of Change discussion. I preface Theory of Change conversations by leading clients through an abbreviated Appreciative Inquiry process.  This entails a combination of paired interviews and team meetings to:
    • identify peak work-related experiences
    • examine what contributed to those successes
    • categorize the resulting themes.

The experience primes participants to work as a team to study past experiences in  a safe and positive environment. They are then  able to craft  strategies, outcomes and goals. These elements become the cornerstone of developing a Theory of Change or a strategic plan, as well as an evaluation plan.

  • Conducting a needs assessment. Appreciative interviews followed by group discussions are a perfect approach for facilitating organization-wide or community meetings as part of a needs assessment process.   AI methods are  based on respectful  listening to each other’s stories, and are well-suited for situations where participants don’t know each other, or have little in common.

Using the resources listed below, you will find many more applications for Appreciative Inquiry in your work.

Rad 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. 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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My name is Susan Kistler and I serve as Executive Director of the American Evaluation Association. I wanted to share information about a few events this summer of special interest to evaluators.

Rad Resource – Mind the Gap: From Evidence to Policy Impact: This conference held earlier this month in Cuernavaca, Mexico was packed with sessions from evaluators around the world. Sponsored by an international coalition, their website is now being populated with session commentary, materials, and video – all free for access and download at:
http://www.impactevaluation2011.org/forum

Hot Tip – Environmental Evaluators Network Forum: Navigating Complexity: The EEN conference focusing on environmental evaluation is coming up this week in Washington, DC. It’s free to attend (but you must pre-register), has nationally and internationally known speakers, and sessions that explore both evaluation fundamentals and applications in the environmental sector. They’ll be uploading materials post-event for those who can’t be there in person.
http://www.environmentalevaluators.net/2011-een-forum-agenda/

Hot Tip – Claremont Graduate University Summer Workshop Series and Stauffer Symposium and Celebration of Michael Scriven’s Career: This longstanding series provides practical and theoretical training in evaluation and applied research through one-day workshops, taught by academics and practitioners from across North America. To be held August 19-22 in Southern California, attending live offers a great opportunity to interact and learn from leaders in the field. Can’t be there in person? All sessions are also offered via live webinar! Registration is required, but affordable. Saturday’s symposium will focus on the “Future of Evaluation in Society” as a tribute to Michael Scriven’s work, and is capped by a celebratory dinner.
http://www.cgu.edu/workshops

Hot Tip – AEA Events Directory: AEA maintains a list of events focusing on evaluation, and related fields and methodologies, that may be found here http://www.eval.org/Training/eventsdir.asp

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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Hi, I’m Susan Wolfe. I am the owner of Susan Wolfe and Associates, LLC, an independent consulting firm that applies Community Psychology principles to strengthening organizations and communities.

As an independent consultant and community psychologist, I spend time networking in my local and professional communities.   Networking serves two functions for me.  First, it helps me to learn about the people, organizations, and politics in my local community, so that when I work on local projects I have an understanding of the context.  Second, it gives people and organizations an opportunity to know my business and what we have to offer.  When a project requires an evaluation or one of my peers needs a collaborator, they might call on me first.  An extra benefit is that I have met some interesting people from whom I have learned a lot!  For those of you who work within larger organizations, it helps expands the pool of individuals you can call on for information or assistance and it is useful when you are seeking employment or looking for promotion opportunities.

One way to network is to volunteer and get involved.  If there is an issue you are interested in working on, or an area you would like to learn more about, then see if there is a coalition or group that meets to discuss it and join it.  Within your professional association, seek out volunteer opportunities and leadership positions.

HOT TIP #1:  AEA posts volunteer opportunities on its website and invites members to complete a Volunteer Interest and Capacity Inventory and write blogs.  There are also opportunities available through the various TIGs.

Another way to network is to attend events, workshops, and conferences.  At the local level attending topical programs or skills-based workshops is one way to meet people with common interests to yours and learn something at the same time.  Professional associations often provide pre-conference workshops.  When you attend conferences, attend presentations by individuals who share your interests and talk with them afterward.  If you arrive early to a presentation, strike up a conversation with the person next to you.

HOT TIP #2: Workshops sponsored by AEA or The Evaluators’ Institute are a great way to sharpen your skills and get to know your peers.

One way to network with other evaluators is to join your local evaluation group.  If there is none in your area, then form one yourself.  It can be as simple as getting all local evaluators together at a local coffee shop or restaurant a few times a year.

Whether you work as an independent consultant, or work for a larger organization, networking is important for building your business or career.  It is worth investing the time and effort.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Independent Consultants (IC) TIG Week with our colleagues in the IC AEA Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our IC  TIG 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.

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Hello! My name is Jan Noga and I am an independent consultant and owner of Pathfinder Evaluation and Consulting in Cincinnati, Ohio, focusing on the evaluation of K-12 programs and support services at both the local and statewide levels. I am also the chair of the Systems in Evaluation TIG. The TIG is pleased to sponsor this week of AEA365 posts with thoughts and advice from several of our members on issues relevant to systems thinking and evaluation.

Hot Tip: We encourage you to attend some of the sessions sponsored by our TIG in San Antonio this November. We have a strong mix of sessions ranging from the applied to the conceptual as it relates to systems thinking and systems approaches in evaluation. Here is a link to the searchable schedule: http://www.eval.org/search10/search.asp

Hot Tip: Running into systems-related issues in your evaluation practice but not sure how to address them? Check out some of the professional development sessions offered this year that address one or more areas relevant to systems theory and thinking:

  • Developmental Evaluation: Applying Complexity Concepts to Enhance Innovation and Use (Monday and Tuesday)
  • Systems Thinking and Evaluation Practice: Tools to Bridge the Gap (Tuesday)
  • Advanced Topics in Concept Mapping for Evaluation (Wednesday)
  • Useful Tools for Integrating System Dynamics and System Intervention Elements into System Change Evaluation Designs (Wednesday)
  • Social Network Analysis: Theories, Methods, and Applications (Wednesday)
  • Purposeful Program Theory (Sunday morning)

Hot Tip: Come to the TIG Business Meeting at the AEA Conference. You are invited to attend the business meeting of the Systems in Evaluation TIG. Please join us on Thursday, November 11 from 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm in Lone Star B in the Grand Hyatt. The highlight of our meeting is a Meet and Greet the Authors panel discussion by TIG members Michael Patton, Patricia Rogers, Bob Williams, and Richard Hummelbrunner, authors of three new books appearing in press this year. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about the cutting edge of systems and evaluation.

Hot Tip: Want to get to know us better? Join us Thursday night at Boudro’s on the Riverwalk. The Systems in Evaluation TIG is hosting this Thursday Nights Out event during AEA. It’s a chance to enjoy good food and even better company. Watch for the announcement about sign-ups from AEA.

Rad Resource: Check out our website for news and a detailed list of TIG-sponsored sessions (http://comm.eval.org/EVAL/Systems_in_Evaluation/Home/Default.aspx).

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Systems in Evaluation Week with our colleagues in the Systems in Evaluation AEA Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our Systems TIG members and you may wish to consider subscribing to our weekly headlines and resources list where we’ll be highlighting Systems resources. You can also learn more from the Systems TIG via their many sessions at Evaluation 2010 this November in San Antonio.

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