LAWG Week: Learning From Others by Teresa Derrick-Mills

Hi, I am Teresa Derrick-Mills, a researcher and evaluator at the Urban Institute in DC. I love learning and researching at the intersections of policy and practice, research and translation to practice, and issues or problems that invite a multi-disciplinary or multi-policy area approach. Today, I am here to spark your interest in the Evaluation 2017 Learning from Others Conference Track.

Given the interdisciplinary nature of evaluation, you might be wondering, who is an “other” that I might learn from? Where can I or should I look to expand my evaluation toolbox to generate appropriate evidence in this complex and dynamic world? In this context, I see the “other” through at least 5 dimensions:

  1. Other researchers who don’t identify as evaluators but whose work we can learn from (see conference tip below for some examples)
  2. Other individuals who could be both the subjects of and participants in our research
  3. Other evaluators whose methodological expertise differs from ours
  4. Other evaluators whose cultures differ from ours
  5. Other evaluators whose evaluation environments differ from ours

Hot Tip – For the Conference:

The President’s Strand includes some sessions that have been very intentionally crafted to expand our learning from others toolkit. See session 3517 to learn from feminism, session 2105 to learn from game theory, session 3260 to learn from implementation science, and session 1686 to learn from each other the ways that race and class influence our evaluation designs and findings.

Hot Tip – for the local DC area:

One great place to learn from others is the National Geographic Museum, my personal favorite. You can take the Metro Red Line down to Farragut North. It isn’t one of the free museums, but the vivid, wall-size pictures provide new perspectives to think about the world (and how to study it) in new ways.

We’re looking forward to November and the Evaluation 2017 annual conference all this week with our colleagues in the Local Arrangements Working Group (LAWG). 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 contribute to aea365? Review the contribution guidelines and send your draft post to

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