MVE TIG Week: Collaborative Evaluations in Military Contexts by Julianne Rush-Manchester

Collaborative evaluation principles have been used to bolster projects and gain representative stakeholder input. I’m Julianne Rush-Manchester of the Military and Veterans TIG. I’m an implementation science and evaluation professional working in the Department of Defense. I’ve learned some tips for facilitating stakeholder input in clinical settings that may be more hierarchical (rather than collaborative) in nature.  These tips could be applied in military and non-military settings.

Lessons Learned: 

  • Push for early involvement of stakeholders, with targeted discussions, to execute projects successfully (according to plan).  It is expected that adjustments to the implementation and evaluation plan will occur; however, these should be modest rather than substantive if stakeholders have provided input on timing, metrics, access to data, program dosage, recruitment challenges, and so forth.  This is particularly true in military settings, where bureaucratic structures dictate logistics and access.
  • Plan for unintended effects, along with intended ones, in new contexts for the program. A replicated program may look slightly different as it must accommodate for nuances of the organization (military member participants, contractors, mandatory vs. volunteer programs, program support from senior leadership). Expected outcomes may be variations of intended ones as the program adjusts to its host setting.

Rad Resources:

This article refers to the use of collaborative evaluation principles when there is an anticipation of systems change as a result of implementation (Manchester et al., 2014)The paper may be helpful in strategizing for collaborative evaluations around evidence based practices in clinical and non-clinical settings, military or otherwise.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating MVE TIG Week with our colleagues in the Military and Veteran’s Issues Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our MVE 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@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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