PD Presenters Week: Martha McGuire on Conducting evaluations that make a difference: Learning what works

Hi! I am Martha McGuire, a credentialed independent evaluator who has been working with a great group of people from around the world: Burt Perrin, Soma De Silva, Pablo Rodriquez-Bilella, Serge Eric Yakeu, Rochelle Zorzi, Ramon Crespo, Dayna Albert, Eric McGraw and Scott Bayley. We have been gathering stories about evaluations that make a difference.

Here are some lessons learned about how to carry out evaluations so they can change people’s lives:

Lessons Learned: We have learned a tremendous amount from the project Evaluations that Make a Difference: Stories from around the world, funded by an EvalPartners Innovation Challenge Award.

A key learning was that evaluators need to understand the difference between excellent evaluation design and evaluations that make a difference for people. Evaluators need to move from conducting evaluations that are simply methodologically sound to conducting and presenting evaluations that make a difference in people’s lives. Evaluations need to go beyond being of high quality, they need to go beyond being used, they need to go beyond improving programs, organizations and policies to actually improving people’s lives.

That is a tall order. So what are some of the things evaluators can do?

Hot Tips:

  • Focus on evaluation impact – think about this from the beginning of the evaluation
  • Give voice to those whose voices are often not heard
  • Provide evidence that is credible to users

We found that in order for evaluations to have an impact, evaluation users need to value the information the evaluation provides. Having a champion of the evaluation within the organization helps tremendously. We also found that it is important to create inter-linkages between the evaluators and the users.

On Saturday, November 14 at the AEA conference in Chicago, Burt Perrin and I will be conducting a workshop on what evaluators can do conduct impactful evaluations. We will use interactive methods to that will allow us to share what we have learned with you and share the knowledge that participants bring with them. We hope to see you there.

Want to learn more? Register for How to carry out evaluations so they can change people’s lives at Evaluation 2015 in Chicago, IL.

This week, we’re featuring posts by people who will be presenting Professional Development workshops at Evaluation 2015 in Chicago, IL. Click here for a complete listing of Professional Development workshops offered at Evaluation 2015. 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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