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Stewart Donaldson on Interactive Conceptual Modeling

My name is Stewart Donaldson, and I am a Professor and Director of the Institute of Organizational and Program Evaluation Research at Claremont Graduate University. I have been helping programs and organizations develop theories of change and related types of conceptual frameworks to guide evaluations for more than 20 years.  One of the big challenges in this work is adequately conceptualizing and representing the complexity of planned interventions or change efforts.  In recent years, my colleague Tarek Azzam and I have been pioneering the application of new software to help us with this challenge.

Rad Resource: We now provide free resources on a website titled Theory-driven Evaluation to support evaluation practitioners who would like to use this approach and software to improve their work .  Provided on this site are examples of completed interactive conceptual models that you can click through and explore, links to the software (including free trials) that we use to create these interactive frameworks, and related evaluation articles and website links.  Our experiences so far confirm that clients really appreciate this approach to representing theories of change and the complexity of their hard work.  It has certainly brightened our evaluation lives.  http://sites.google.com/site/programtheory/free-resources

Happy evaluating!

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4 thoughts on “Stewart Donaldson on Interactive Conceptual Modeling”

  1. Hi Marcus,

    Many of our clients require more than static and linear depictions of their projects, programs, policies, organizatiions, etc. Interactive conceptual modeling allows us to create almost any complex and multidimesional framework that they have in mind. No longer are we contrained to one dimensional paper and pencil drawings of boxes and arrows.

    Thanks for the question, Stewart

  2. Dear John,

    The only other software that we know of that creates flash files and works on Macs is Adobe Flash (but we don’t think it is low cost — approx. $800 to $1000.)
    But, any flash file produced works on Macs and PCs regardless of the software used to produce it.

    Best wishes, Stewart

  3. Hi Stewart,

    I’m curious to know exactly how you use Flash in your work, since it is typically animation-driven, as opposed to static (ie, such as traditional logic models). I’m always looking for new ways of displaying data.

    @John – I’m not sure of any Mac alternatives (other than virtualizing via VMware or Parallels), but from my limited experience, Flash isn’t too hard to learn. Though, I will caution everyone that pundits anticipate Flash going away within the next 1 – 3 years due to newer and more efficient technologies (i.e., HTML5).

  4. I really like the examples, which are about 1/2 way down the page. I’ve used SWiSH in some of my work, and have found it useful for different data displays, not just logic models.

    To the best of my knowledge, SWiSH only works on PCs. Does anyone know of a low-cost equivalent that runs on Mac?

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