Best of AEA365: Approaching Document Review in a Systematic Way by Linda Cabral

Greetings AEA365 readers.  I’m Linda Cabral from the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Center for Health Policy and Research. Many evaluations that I’ve been a part of in my 15+ year career have required a review of existing program documents. This has involved a range of documents such as program descriptions, meeting minutes, proposals and grantee reports. There can be many purposes to performing a document review. Often, it can provide you the background necessary to formulate your primary data collection tools. Other times, document review can be your sole data collection method when your evaluation only requires descriptive information such as number and type of sites or a description of participants and program costs. Funders appreciate this data collection method because it does not pose a burden to program staff as the data already exists. Regardless of the main purpose of your document review, I’ve found it helpful to be able to approach this type of review in a systematic way.

Using Tracer Methodology to Understand the Lived Experience of Diverse Individuals by Michael Valenti and April Wall-Parker

Hello! We are Michael Valenti, PhD, and April Wall-Parker, MS, from Pressley Ridge, a nonprofit social services agency. Our organization is committed to providing equitable services for all and has made it a strategic priority to ensure that our programs are safe and nurturing spaces for every individual. As evaluators, we analyze performance data for our program leaders to ensure that we are having the right impact on our communities. A few years ago, we began disaggregating our performance indicators by race and gender so our leadership teams can see how successful our programs are for diverse people.

Lessons Learned in Planning a Student-Led Evaluation Conference: Insights from the EViE Conference Planning Committee by Gabriel Keney

Hello AEA365 community! I’m Gabriel Keney, a Ph.D. student in the UNC Greensboro Educational Research Methodology Department (UNCG ERM) program evaluation track. Today, I would like to share some lessons I learned while collaboratively working with fellow students and faculty to plan a student-led evaluation conference.

Making the Most of Conference Opportunities: Insights from Emerging Evaluators by Stacy Huff and Tyler Clark

Hello! We are Stacy Huff and Tyler Clark, doctoral students in UNC Greensboro’s Educational Research Methodology (ERM) Department program evaluation track. We are also emerging evaluators who have learned a lot about the challenges of navigating the conference-presenting process. Today, we want to share what we’ve learned over the years, from our experiences with submitting proposals, presenting at conferences, and planning our own graduate-student led conference (EViE), and emphasize the importance of creating spaces for emerging evaluators.

Engaged and Empowering Evaluation: Leveraging the Expertise of Stakeholders within Non-Profit Evaluations by Tom Summerfelt

My name is Dr. Tom Summerfelt and I serve as the Chief Research Officer at Feeding America. This blog presents the current participatory, engaged approach that Feeding America is implementing to respond to this obstacle by shifting its evaluation staff from direct service to empowering, coaching, and mentoring program staff to integrate evaluation with their programming. As background, Feeding America is a two-tiered, federated network with a National Organization serving 200 food banks that partner with 60,000 community agencies to serve our neighbors dealing with food insecurity. In 2021, the Network distributed over 6 billion meals and served over 53 million individuals.

This is Dedicated to the AEA Volunteers (Past, Present, and Future)! by Zachary Grays

Greetings! My name is Zachary Grays and I am the Membership and Operations Manager here at the American Evaluation Association (AEA). This coming May I will be celebrating 10 years serving AEA, joining a team of many talented staff members who brought AEA to Smithbucklin way back when my fashions were quieter and my hair …

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Data Ethics Week: Don’t Forget to Take a Break! by Johnny Du

Greetings and welcome to the final post of Data Ethics Week! I’m Johnny Du (he/him), a Writer/Editor with Informing Change. My colleagues and our collaborators have told you all week about the importance of considering data ethics when conducting research and evaluation, having developed a Guidebook and Toolkit to help with decision-making. Having strong data …

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Data Ethics Week: Building Your Team’s Ethical Thinking Muscles: Professional Development in Ethics by Anjie Rosga

Hi – once again it’s Anjie Rosga, from Informing Change. This time, I’m here with a reflection on professional development in ethical thinking for Data Ethics Week. If my and Caitlin Stanton’s first post focused on the origins of data ethics and contemporary interpretations of how to do research and evaluation in the social sector ethically …

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