Hello! I am Ravneet Tiwana, principal independent consultant with KHOJ Consulting. Evaluation questions are one of the most important elements in an evaluation design because they focus the study by functioning as flashlights in a deep sea of data. Often times, determining evaluation questions is something the client believes the evaluator should do as a hired expert. The evaluator often wants to partner with the client/key stakeholders to determine these questions in order to ensure usability of evaluation findings.
Lesson Learned: As evaluators, many of us know, that more engaged stakeholders lead to increased use of evaluation findings. The process of stakeholder engagement, according to Hallie Preskill Ph.D. and Nathalie Jones of FSG, increases quality, scope, and depth of questions, ensures transparency, facilitates the evaluation process, acknowledges the political context, builds evaluation capacity, and fosters relationships and collaboration. Ultimately, an evaluation supports evidence-based decision-making and brings transparency to this process when commissioned for accountability and/or continuous improvement purposes. Therefore, it is important to have good evaluation questions based on stakeholders’ primary information needs in order for the evaluation findings to be useful for these purposes. But, how do you do engage stakeholders? And do it, effectively? I found the included resources helpful in developing strategies to engage key stakeholders. One resource is helpful in identifying what kind of information is needed to create high-quality evaluation questions. The other resource is useful for identifying the most appropriate medium for engaging key stakeholders, particularly when you have quite a few scattered across cities, states, or countries.
Rad Resources: I have found the following resources helpful in developing evaluation questions with stakeholder groups.
- Evaluation Toolkit for Magnet School Programs: Provides a checklist for high-quality questions: Checklist: Developing High-Quality Evaluation Questions
- A Practical Guide for Engaging Stakeholders in Developing Evaluation Questions: Provides overall guidance on the purpose of good evaluation questions in ensuring useful, credible, and relevant evaluation findings. The guide also shares techniques and criteria for engaging stakeholders and the best medium for doing so.
Hope this helps in doing your work!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.