AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators



Celebrate 1000 aea365 Posts – Win a Free AEA Membership – What’s Your Favorite?

There are numbers to which we assign significance, signposts in a lifetime of progress. Kindergarteners count the first 100 days of school, young adults celebrate the transition from 20 to 21, we look back and forward when turning 40 or 50 or 60.

Today, we’re celebrating a major milestone in the life of this blog. You guessed it, this is our 1000th post and thus time to do the happy dance, gather up the virtual streamers, wear funny hats, and celebrate and give thanks!

Thank you to the 600+ contributors who have made aea365 possible and to our dedicated lead curators John LaVelle, Michelle Baron, and June Gothberg who have each nurtured aea365 through a significant part of its first 1000 posts.

Hot Tip: Use the archive to find your favorites from the 1000

Hot Tip: Share a reflection on your favorite aea365 post (tell us which one and why) via the comments to win one year of membership from the American Evaluation Association!

We’ll select one winner at random from all of those adding a comment within the posting guidelines (specify a post, tell why it’s your favorite). You’re welcome to post more than once, or give a shoutout to more than one favorite, but you’ll only be entered once.

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  • Kevin · December 26, 2013 at 10:51 am

    My favorite post was ‘Chris Metzner on Presentation Blues… and Reds and Yellows,’ which offered insight into how the colors one uses in presentations may impact an audience. I’ve got the ‘color wheel’ posted in my office!


  • Laran · October 11, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    My favorite post (so far) is June Gothberg on creating Presentations Potent for All, Posted: 30 Jul 2012 because it had a nice, clear list of tips for presentations.


  • Shureka H. · October 11, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    As a fairly new researcher in the field of evaluation, the daily AEA365 posts are very useful and informational in describing all the different aspects of evaluation. I really enjoyed the post
    “Laura Pryor on Using Photovoice to Support a Culturally Responsive Evaluation
    Posted: 09 Sep 2012 05:12”. This reading helped me in two ways: one in which currently as a student in my evaluation course and also performing a research project for class on the use of photo voice. This post helped me to identify key techniques that would be helpful in performing an effective photo voice project.


  • Guy · October 3, 2012 at 11:24 am

    I bet you didn’t know that the AEA365 also acts as a kind of matchmaker? Know I didn’t; well, not until I read the post by Tom Archibald and Jane Buckley entitled Evaluative Thinking: The ‘Je Ne Sais Quoi’ of Evaluation Capacity Building and Evaluation Practice ( As a result of reading their excellent post, we have since corresponded, spoken on the phone, met in person (not quite a date as it was at my office!) and are now actively seeking opportunities to bring their ideas about evaluative thinking into the work of the agency I work for, Catholic Relief Services.


  • Gregory Greenman II · October 2, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    My favorite post in recent memory is Stacy Carruth’s post on how she uses wordle to literally see how people talk about overdose.

    When I was working in drug policy in Illinois years ago, it was often time consuming to figure out what words (and thereby themes) community members associated with overdose. I have passed this resource along to my colleagues still in the field there and they found it very useful. Thank you Stacy!


  • Dawn Smart · September 28, 2012 at 11:07 am

    My all time favorite is Susan’s 2010 post on Data, Art and Representation … Useful, thought-provoking, and fun and enlightening to explore. I also appreciated the specifics and resources from Veronica Smith’s 2011 post on Data Dashboard Design …


  • Debra Hodges, PhD · September 28, 2012 at 9:44 am

    My favorite is Martha Henry on Data Confidentiality and Data Ownership (Posted: 29 Jun 2010 01:05 AM PDT). I have referred back to it and referred management to it over and over.


  • Ann Emery · September 27, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    I love them all! As a new-ish evaluator, aea365 has introduced me to the topics, trends, and themes in the field. This is the first place I heard terms like feminist evaluation, fuzzy logic models, and (gasp!) data visualization.

    My favorite posts include links to resources and tools. The most useful post has been Susan Kistler’s post about Tips and Tools for Presentations from Ignite AEA ( I re-read that post every time I need free photos for an upcoming presentation.


  • Alexis · September 27, 2012 at 11:46 am

    I was speaking with a colleague just the other day about the dangers of falling into a survey trap for evaluation. He works with at-risk youth and he felt that they just weren’t in to taking his evaluation surveys and I suggested photo-voice because I am a huge fan of empowerment evaluation. The next morning I found Laura Pryor’s post in my inbox
    about Using Photovoice. How timely! I immediately emailed her piece in the hopes of spreading the word. Thank you!


  • Cara · September 27, 2012 at 10:46 am

    I am new to evaluation, so haven’t been subscribed to the aea365 for very long. In the past few months, though, my favorite has been Allan Porowski and Heather Clawson’s post on conducting evaluation with at-risk youth: The youth program discussed in the post (Communities in Schools) is very similar to our program here at Goodwill Industries of Denver, so it was very interesting to read Allan and Heather’s comments about the evaluation. It prompted all of us in the evaluation department here to dig deeper into the CIS evaluation and sparked some great discussion and ideas for our own internal evaluation. I love that Allan and Heather’s post encouraged us to delve deeper into our own evaluation findings and look at our programs and data from new perspectives!


  • Author comment by jgothberg · September 27, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Susan it has been my privilege and pleasure to work with you all on aea365! I must say my favorite posts are those free useful tools that save me time and energy. There may be too many favorites to list, but this year we created a tag with the brilliant name of “free tools”.

    Also those posts with short tips for using software:

    Hot tip: When looking at individual posts (not the list) the tags are listed at the end of the post. Click on the tag and it will pull up all posts which also have been tagged.

    Just to name some names, I will list a few I have used in my own work:

    Susan Kistler on Free/Low-cost Software for Evaluation for Nonprofits

    Sarajoy Pond on Wordle and the follow up comments and tips:

    Susan’s follow up-
    Susan Kistler on Leaving Wordle for Tagxedo

    Naomi Walsh on a Must-Have Free Timeline Maker

    Sona Madison on More Free Photo Sites

    John Colon on Nine Tech Tools That Make Life Easier

    And this one I printed while working on my dissertation:
    Shelby First on HackCollege and Making the Most of Google Search


  • Karen · September 27, 2012 at 7:59 am

    My favourite post is Phil Levine on Humour for the Chart Lover ( I think we all need humour in our day and humour can be useful in presenting information. I particularly love the Rad Resource: Chart Porn. I put the cake analogy on my office wall which reminds me to use it and has generated many interesting discussions amongst colleagues on how we know when somebody ate the cake.


    • Author comment by jgothberg · September 27, 2012 at 10:45 am

      Karen I loved that one too!


  • Janet M. Smith · September 27, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Congratulations to AEA365! My favorite AEA post was from Tina Phillips entitled “Developing Validated Scales” (posted Apr. 2012). The post became my favorite when the author stated, “Developing and validating scales is hard!” and later suggested, “Seek the help of psychometricians…”. Published literature on research and evaluation rarely identifies barriers to success or mistakes; identifying problems, errors and caveats like Tina Phillips’ post does is a generous and humble perspective offering important lessons. Should I ever be asked to validate scales, I’ll approach the task with more realistic expectations and ready to seek specific help from others. Thanks, Tina, for the time you’ll save me.


  • Sheila Robinson Kohn · September 26, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    I’m thrilled to be the first to post a comment, especially since this may also be the cheesiest one! It is, however, with great sincerity that I select John LaVelle’s “Welcome to aea365” posted on December 31, 2009 as my favorite because it introduced my favorite evaluation blog. I’ve learned so much from reading just about all 1000 posts, and while I do have a personal list of favorites I read again and again, I couldn’t possibly pick just one. Kudos, congratulations, and many thanks to the community of curators and 600+ contributors for advancing our field with aea365.


  • Theresa · September 26, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    I was surprised with much I enjoyed the post on the Cornell Note Taking System ( I tested it out, modified it for my own needs, and now use it consistently at my job. I attend rather fast-paced meetings for at least half of my working hours. This system has helped me ensure that I don’t lose the questions that arise while someone is talking nor the items that I need to follow up on.


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