My name is Charles Gasper and I am the Director of Evaluation for the Missouri Foundation for Health. I also Blog under the name of The Evaluation Evangelist and can be found on Twitter and Facebook. Below, you will find some painful lessons and hopefully useful resources.
Rad Resource – The Evaluation Evangelist: My blog targets individuals new to evaluation. It is intended to urge individuals to evaluate, but to do so in a manner that reflects their needs. For example, in my January posting, I discuss my thoughts around reasons to evaluate, or not. As mentioned above, I also microblog through Twitter (@karcsig). Here, my target audience is more varied, ranging from professional evaluators to the amateur. Again, the focus is to provoke thought and dialogue to improve the engagement in and use of evaluation.
Hot Tips – favorite posts:
- July 29, 2009 – Evaluation & Dissemination Can Save a Life: Discussion of how the engagement in evaluative behavior can save a program or organization, drawing parallels with the Indonesian tsunami in 2004.
- December 26, 2010 – You Give Evaluation a Bad Name: Discussion around the use of evaluation to support risk taking.
- February 23, 2011 – Language and Evaluation: Discussion around language and evaluation.
Lessons Learned – why I blog: Blogging is a way to get information out to a broad audience in a highly accessible manner. I use it to share my ideas (or those of others that I find interesting) with those I wish to influence – namely the evaluation community and those they support.
Lessons Learned: There are a few interesting things I have learned and/or considered along the way:
- The experience of writing a blog is a hybrid between submission for publication and writing in your diary. What you write is accessible to anyone with internet access. It is easy to fall into the trap of writing things that aren’t for public consumption and conversely, it is easy to be so careful in your writing, that you publish little to nothing.
- Be clear as to who you represent when you blog. I’m a Director of Evaluation for a good-sized foundation. However, I am clear that what I write is not the official opinion of my employer, but rather “musings” of a professional evaluator.
- Writing a good blog is work and you need to have topics to sustain your blog. Pacing is key.
- Have an audience that you wish to write to, when writing a blog.
- Direct people to your blog as you update it, so they know you have something new to say.
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 email@example.com. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.