Bloggers Series: Catherine (Brehm) Rain on The Evaluation Forum

My name is Catherine (Brehm) Rain, Vice President of Rain & Brehm Consulting Group, Inc., an independent evaluation and consulting firm located in Rockledge, Florida.  I blog at The Evaluation Forum.

Rad Resource – The Evaluation Forum: New to our website, The Evaluation Forum focuses on the why and wherefore of evaluation of health promotion and health-related, risk-reduction programming.  The blog targets program personnel with some or no background in the principles, practices, purposes and benefits of program evaluation. Content is basic, and covers issues such as hiring an evaluator, program design, and fidelity (among other future topics). We post new content monthly and expect to increase frequency of postings this year.

Hot Tips – favorite posts: We added our blog in September of this 2011. Thus far, my two favorite posts are

  • 10/3/2011 7 Qualities of an Effective Universal Program Design  Nine times out of ten, program ‘problems’ are directly related to program ‘design’—or the absence thereof. This blog covers basic qualities of program design and leads readers to one of my favorite places: Theory At a Glance: A Guide to Health Promotion Practice.
  • 12/11/2011 Fiddling with Fidelity? Fidelity means, in a word: faithfulness.  As a former project director and a current evaluation team member specializing in Process Evaluation, I liken adherence to a grant management plan or a program design, to following a recipe for bread pudding.  Yes, you can tweak it here and there, if you know what you’re doing. If you don’t, you might end up as I did, with a batch of botched pudding!

Lessons Learned – why I blog: I blog, because I am first and foremost a writer—I write two other blogs non-related to evaluation.  Chiefly and with relevance to The Evaluation Forum: I blog to bring basic information to clients and program personnel so that they (a) grow their knowledge about evaluation; (b) apply evaluation principles to program design and implementation; and in so doing (c) maximize outcomes.

Lessons Learned: You have to commit to a blog in the same way you do to a subscribed newsletter: often; and whether you have time for it, or not. It is an adjustment.  It also takes time to develop a following—if you want one. Linking posts to our Facebook page has added a ‘friendly community’ factor, as well.  Sometimes, folks are a little shy of evaluation and its impact on their organization or project.  Finding us on-line or on Facebook with helpful hints or solid information they can use meaningfully, may be the first step we can take as professionals to help our clients and community succeed! (It’s also nice to be ‘liked’!)

This winter, we’re running a series highlighting evaluators who blog. 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 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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