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

Jan/11

17

WMU Scribing: Alexander Manga on Perspectives of Quality

My name is Alexander Manga, and I am a Ph.D student at Western Michigan University. I served as a scribe at Evaluation 2010 and attended session 356, Differing Perspectives of Quality Throughout an Evaluation. I chose this session because I am very interested in understanding more about the construction and processing of quality evaluations.

Lessons Learned: Quality began at the grant proposal stage

  • The more detailed, accurate, and sensible your grant deliverables were the greater your chances of getting a proposal chosen. The keys are not to over commit, yet hit the deliverables asked for in the RFP. Tailor the proposal to the needs and wants of the agency in a manner that ensures success for both sides.
  • Past work was a predictor of future quality. It was noted that past work performance with program managers or stakeholders will greatly influence future opportunities. A strong reputation for quality work may increase your chances for grant acceptance.

Lessons Learned: Working with stakeholders and managers is a key to success and having a re-occurring relationship

  • Communication throughout the entire evaluation process is key. Perspectives and criteria may change during the evaluation process. There are two different situations that may exist; predictable and unpredictable paths the evaluator can encounter. Obviously, the more predictable the better. Communication between evaluator and stakeholder can mitigate unpredictable situations during the evaluation.
  • Assume change will occur. Nothing will be static, yet dynamic. Remain open minded to continuous change in both planning and practice. Stakeholders may use different criteria to judge the quality by the end of the evaluation.
  • Engage in reflection. After each evaluation, team members should reflect on the process from beginning to end and determine positive and negative points.

Lessons Learned: How is quality judged?

  • Reputation
  • Methodological Rigor
  • Cost-Effectiveness
  • Likelihood to meet expected deliverables
  • Credentialing

Lesson Learned: Increase evaluative inquiry sustainability

  • By incorporating a participatory approach, evaluators can take advantage of current practices and procedures by researching process methods and operational scopes to determine efficiencies and effectiveness. Sustainability can be attenuated by participation of stakeholders or constituents. This process then repeats itself through a cycle that includes: Action, Plan, Observation, and Reflection. This involvement of participants through the entire cycle can enrich the evaluation process by ensuring communication and understanding at the ground level through completion.

The full description of this session and its presenters may be found here. At AEA’s 2010 Annual Conference, session scribes took notes at over 30 sessions and we’ll be sharing their work throughout the winter on aea365. This week’s scribing posts were done by the students in Western Michigan University’s Interdisciplinary PhD program. 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.

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