Hello evaluators, my name is Sid Ali and I am Principal Consultant at Research and Evaluation Consulting. I do much of my work in education and training settings, and this often takes me into the corporate, environment.
I have found that there is great benefit to both the evaluator and the client in using tried and tested multi-step methods for evaluation management, especially if the client organization does not have a culture familiar with evaluation methods and use. These multi-step methods are often used in public health and human services evaluations, but can be easily transferred to the corporate setting with some elbow grease.
Corporate organizations that have primarily used performance measurement to monitor programs require a familiarization with the evaluative process. The US GAO has a nice description of the relationship between evaluation and performance measurement that can help you communicate such to your clients. This familiarization can take many forms, but preparing a primer and distributing is not the approach I would recommend. Here’s where the multi-step methods come into play, as much focus in what I call the “orientation” phase of the evaluation is placed on building relationships with key players in the evaluation management from the corporation’s side. Understanding the historical context of the organization and the program is crucial at this phase as well.
Multi-step methods for evaluation management also help the evaluator and client by establishing an evaluation activity sequence or road map that is shared with the organization in the “orientation” phase with the caveat that there may be changes to the route that was planned. My experience in using the multi-step methods is that evaluation activities and results are better understood and both become more relevant within the client organization during the evaluation and in times post-evaluation as well.
- Michael Quinn Patton has a thorough example of a multi-step method for evaluation management and evaluation capacity building in the 4th edition of his Utilization-focused Evaluation text.
- There is a special edition of New Directions for Evaluation (Volume 121) edited by Compton and Baizerman that contains articles citing the use of multi-step methods.
- Finally, a recent article by Compton, Baizerman and Roholt in Volume 25(2) of the Canadian Journal of Evaluation outlines a 10-step method to respond to common problems in evaluation management.
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