My name is John LaVelle. One of the things that I have struggled with is describing what evaluation is and why it’s important. Following up on that, many people ask about how evaluation is related to research.
Rad resource: Eva the Evaluator by Roger Miranda and Birgit Stadler. This is a delightful and inexpensive book about a little girl named Eva and her father the evaluator. Eva isn’t exactly sure what he father does, and so the book is about her father explaining evaluation in easily understandable terms, and Eva imagining herself engaged in the scenarios he described. And, reading the book, I was pleasantly surprised with all the inside jokes, such as a cookbook titled “Preskill’s Chocolate Chip Cookies” and various evaluation theorists costumed as superheroes.
Hot Tip: Visualize the relationship like an hourglass. I tend to be a visual person, and so I developed a picture of an hourglass with research on one side and evaluation on the other. This picture illustrates how evaluation and research begin at different points and funnel to using the same methods to answer questions and analyze data. They diverge again when it comes time to report on the outcomes (or processes) under study.