Hi everyone! I’m Taj Carson, President of Carson Research Consulting, Inc. We are a small, women-owned research firm in Baltimore, MD. that specializes in evaluation research. At Carson Research, we maintain a blog, as well as a twitter feed. Our blog is called REALIZE: Real World. Real Value. Real Change. You can also follow us on twitter (@TajCarson).
Rad Resource – REALIZE: Real World. Real Value. Real Change.: The REALIZE blog is our way of communicating interesting articles, research, or mere musings that we come across that may be of value for other evaluators or program staff interested in evaluation for their organization. We would love for those who read our blog to comment on the posts and create conversations on the topics presented. Inspiration for our posts comes from journal articles, newspaper articles, and even aea365 emails! We make a point to write about evaluation practice in a way that is accessible, easy to understand, and provides useful information that readers can apply to their work. Our content usually focuses on evaluation methods or food for thought; we post monthly.
Hot Tips – favorite posts:
- Participatory Analysis: In this entry, we summarize a nonprofit report and an aea365 email, both discussing the need for programs to collaborate with their evaluators. We highlight our experience in collaborative partnerships.
- Paying for what works: Here, we highlight a New York Times article discussing President Obama’s proposal of social impact bonds and consider the impact the implementation of this policy would have on the evaluation field.
- Focus Groups: For this blog entry, we discuss focus groups. We describe what they are and their benefit in evaluation work. This post would be particularly interesting for those new to evaluation or an organization looking for a method for collecting data.
Lessons Learned – why I blog: We see our posts as an opportunity for evaluators to read something interesting related to the field, as well as a chance for non-evaluators to learn a little about evaluation and the lingo. In addition, we try to post other articles that might be helpful for the programs we evaluate (an example of this would be our post on Managerial Training for Nonprofit Directors). The information provided and the topics we choose are usually aimed at those new to the field or those who aren’t experienced in evaluation practice.
Lessons Learned about blogging: We post links to our blog posts as we create them so that we can really spread the word about what we’ve written. It’s fun to see the blog posts retweeted and the information shared with others. We also run into clients or others in the community who mentioned something they’ve read recently in our blog, so we know it’s been used and has gotten people thinking. In addition, we like to use twitter for things such as short, powerful evaluation quotes we come across, especially while at conferences, retweeting other evaluation or nonprofit resources, and following what’s going on in the communities in which we work.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.