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Evaluation in the time of Covid 19 by Isabelle Collins

Evaluation in the time of Covid 19 by Isabelle Collins

Kia Ora

My name is Isabelle Collins, and I am a principal advisor, research and evaluation at Oranga Tamariki the Ministry for Children in New Zealand.

At the time of writing the virus has not (as far as we know) escaped into the community here – although that day will surely come. Nevertheless, we have to think hard about the practicalities of our evaluation programme, particularly our qualitative work. How do we proceed in the absence of face to face contact and when we can’t reach people through the places they used to congregate? The Ministry delivers services to young people and their wh?nau/families in times of crisis – that can’t stop, and as we roll out new services, the accompanying real-time evaluation in indispensable to ensure we are reaching the people that matter with the services they need, so stopping isn’t an option. Planning future work becomes difficult to impossible.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Rather it’s an opportunity to develop new tools, to increase our use of existing tools and for some people, to overcome their inner technophobe. It even gives us the opportunity to involve people more – an online Zoom workshop might be much more accessible to some small NGOs who deliver our programmes than travelling to physical workshops some distance away with the associated loss of time (we can and do pay, but opportunity costs are high).

Rad Resources: AEA 365 – yes this very place –  is searchable and is full of great ideas which people have found helpful (and great people to follow up with – they came here because they wanted to share, right?)

A few things I found for ideas – and maybe we need to spark new thinking.

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 aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

8 thoughts on “Evaluation in the time of Covid 19 by Isabelle Collins”

  1. Hi Ms.Collins,

    I appreciate your post so much, thank you for sharing your insights and thoughts. I am currently a student at Queen’s University doing some graduate work in education.

    I really liked a couple of things about your post. The first was your acknowledgement of the difficulties folks are facing with – as you said – the absence of face-to-face contact that we are so used to having. It has been an incredible adjustment period, and the challenges seem to continue presenting themselves. The second was your optimism and looking at the current situation as an opportunity. I think that one thing the pandemic has offered to us is the opportunity to re-evaluate how things are done. It’s given a chance to really examine what is working, what is not working and perhaps has pushed us to become more creative and re-structure.

    Have you found that there is more connection opportunity by using online virtual platforms like Zoom?

    Thank you for sharing,


  2. Sheila Robinson

    Hi All! Thanks for your interest in this post and the resources. We’re working to get the correct link up there, so please do check back soon!

  3. Pingback: Creativity, Flexibility, and Courage: How I am adapting my program evaluation practice during the global pandemic - Evaluation Into Action

  4. Thanks much for this post! Sadly, though, the link to the site re: remote focus groups using delphi technique seems to be mistaken. Even just the root, articlesphere, leads to some guy’s marketing site. I’m hoping you can provide the correct site.

  5. Thanks for this great post about a very topical challenge! Could you please update/correct the second hyperlink? This one (articlesphere) is redirecting a marketing profile page.

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