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Liz Zadnik on How constellations are a lot like data collection (A Practitioner’s Story…again)

Hi there, Liz Zadnik here, bringing you another Saturday post focused on practitioner experiences and approaches. Today I’m going to focus on a recent (and recurring) experience of getting others excited about evaluation and capturing information.

It is a source of pride that many of my colleagues have said, “Liz, you bring such an enthusiasm for evaluation – it really helps getting people engaged and interested.” Now, I’m not the most knowledgeable or experienced person, but I do know that evaluation and assessment hold an important place in the present and future of the anti-sexual violence movement.

Hot Tip: During a recent webinar I was facilitating, I was talking about sharing data and building trust with community members. I was trying to think of how to explain it and used the analogy of constellations: we do not “own” the stars, but have drawn connections to tell stories about the past, present, and future.

Lesson Learned: Look up! Sometimes this could be literal or figurative. But getting some perspective and being creative can go a long way in engaging people in conversations about evaluation. In my experience, folks often see numbers and equations and statistics (which is fair and true), and this prevents them from seeing how evaluation can help tell a story. Their story.

Rad Resource: The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault released a new toolkit presenting activity-based assessment as a strategy for collecting evaluation data while also implementing a prevention and education program. I’ve found this to be a great way to broaden people’s minds to how evaluation can work for them.

I hope this post has helped illuminate the inner workings of a practitioner passionate about evaluation. My time with aea365 has been incredible so far – I have learned so much and look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments!

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.

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