Gov’t Eval TIG Week: Making the most of GAO’s online resources by Brooke Leary

Hi! My name is Brooke Leary and I am an audit supervisor for the King County Auditor’s Office, in Washington State. We conduct independent performance evaluations of county programs and agencies. Prior to working for King County, I worked for the U.S. Government Accountability Office and find that I still look to their online resources to help inform my work.

GAO is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress and investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars. Their research spans topics that the federal government is involved in – which are many and varied – and they have resources online that can help inform you on key topics, methodologies, and criteria for evaluations.

Lesson Learned: GAO has lots of great resources to help inspire and inform evaluations.

Hot Tips:

GAO Key Issues web page screenshot

  • Explore Key issues by topic and check “government operations” to find a great list of reports that could serve as key background or criteria for an evaluation. For instance, check out the Data Driven Decision Making page for great criteria for use in evaluations.

GAO Explore Key Issues by Topic web page screenshot

  • Check out the GAO Flickr page for data visualization inspirations and ideas. GAO posts images of the graphics from all of its published reports to a Flickr photostream. They also organize some images into albums, so if you are interested in graphics specific to a topic, this can be a good place to browse, too. Some of my favorites include GAO infographics, space, telecommunications, transportation, and health care.
  • The GAO Watchblog is a place where GAO can provide more context for its work, tying its reports to current events and highlighting ways GAO has had impact. For example, a recent post talks about open government data and highlights key practices government agencies can take to ensure their data is as transparent as possible.

Rad Resources:

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Gov’t Eval TIG Week with our colleagues in the Government Evaluation Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our Gov’t Eval TIG members. 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 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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