Sheila B Robinson on Evaluation…Better Evaluation!

Hello All! I’m Sheila B Robinson, aea365’s Lead Curator and sometimes Saturday contributor. I’m a collector and connector. I love shopping the internet and collecting resources for evaluation, and I love connecting people to resources. I’m not alone in this endeavor, as many others are doing similar work with their websites as well. Today, I want to feature (and connect you to) the most highly developed aggregate of evaluation resources I know: Better Evaluation.

Lesson Learned: Better Evaluation is quite simply: An international collaboration to improve evaluation practice and theory by sharing and generating information about options (methods or processes) and approaches.

One thing I love about this site is its organization. It’s easy for websites to grow and add content and for the user experience to get lost in the mix, resulting in an unnavigable mess and mass. Not so with Better Evaluation. The site has grown along with its content. For example, the home page features a bold “Start Here” button which takes you to links for “Plan an Evaluation” and “Decide What Method to Use” among others. The home page also offers clearly labeled and linked new resources and events.

Cool Trick: To learn about Better Evaluation’s history, I decided to try an old trick I learned from Susan Kistler in an aea365 post. I used the Wayback Machine Internet archive to find the earliest snapshot of the Better Evaluation Website in 2011. Sure enough, there I was reading about the organization in its beta phase.  Included there was their intent to do the following:

BetterEvaluation will:

  • Provide content in a dynamic, user-centred manner
  • Provide a comprehensive list of methods in an easily navigable way
  • Provide guidance to users on how to select and adapt a method to suit their needs
  • Provide links to more detailed guidance on methods
  • Provide examples of methods in use
  • Encourage users to generate and upload content and rate evaluation resources
  • Ensure opportunities for exchange between users and between users and experts

Rad Resources: Better Evaluation has done all of that and more. Their Rainbow Framework has evolved, their contributors have expanded, and their blog articles are chock full of rich content and useful links.

AEA and Better Evaluation collaborated to produce a series of Coffee Break Webinars (free to all!) overviewing the different tasks involved in planning, managing and conducting an evaluation.

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 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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