2-for-1 Week: Connie Viamonte onGet Connected! Embracing Technology in Evaluation

My name is Connie Viamonte and I am a Research and Evaluation Associate at Q-Q Research Consultants based out of Miami, Florida.

Today I want to share some of our experiences utilizing new technologies. We’ve found that when we’re unafraid to try new things, technology is a valuable tool in the evaluation world.

Most recently, our firm was hired to evaluate a teen pregnancy prevention program here in South Florida. Our survey meant to ask some very personal questions and we worried about administering the survey and how comfortable youth would feel responding.

The plan was to administer the survey using Fire HD tablets. Our firm had used the tablets most recently for some work we did in Haiti. We had to work without an internet connection and found a simple program, droidSurvey, that would allow us to collect survey responses without WiFi and then download them later through a Cloud function.

Lesson Learned: The added benefit of using the tablet with the teens seemed to be their excitement. Even the adults were impressed with the mode of survey delivery. Our team realized that the psychology of the tablet plays an important role. Although the survey was fairly long, students were so engaged with the novelty of the Fire HD, that they stuck it out and, from cursory observations, seemed willing to be open and honest in their responses. Additionally, the tablets were easy to hold close to the body with one hand and the screen angle did not allow others to easily see their peer’s responses.

Hot tip: Don’t be afraid to explore what technology can offer you. It’s a wonderful way to reach new generations of tech-savvy respondent and it even strikes a chord with those who are not as “techy”. Easy-to-use tablets are one way.

Our firm is now experimenting with a “clicker” system that we would like to introduce for focus groups to solicit responses to multiple-choice questions and project results to the group in order to guide and facilitate discussion.

We are trying to expand our services by trying out fun and friendly ideas that make our job easier and the experience of our respondents much more pleasant!

We’re celebrating 2-for-1 Week here at aea365. With tremendous interest in the blog lately, we’ve had many authors eager to share their evaluation wisdom, so for one special week, readers will be treated to two blog posts per day! 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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