Susan Kistler on Thinking Imaginatively for Evaluation Reporting

My name is Susan Kistler and I am the Executive Director of the American Evaluation Association and the regularly Saturday contributor on area365. Next week I am traveling to Minnesota to give a workshop at the Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute on “Data Visualization, Presentation, and Reporting That Engages Stakeholders, Elevates Your Message, and Enhances Use.”

One component of our workshop will focus on the use of video in evaluation, hence last week’s aea365 post about InsightShare’s use of Participatory Video. I also had at hand examples of reporting, using comics and humor (I’ll write a bit more about these in a future post). What I couldn’t find was an example of leveraging humor and video for evaluation reporting, or even a reporting video that could be described as lighthearted. So I had one made.

Lessons Learned – How to Get a Video Made for $5: I wrote out a short script expressing three key findings from a survey of the services in an imaginary animal hospital. And, who better to speak for the animals than an animal himself if Dr. Doolittle isn’t around?

So, I turned to Fiverr. I have written about Fiverr before – they are a website where people do tasks for $5. “ThePianist1” has an offer where he makes a cute green frog talk for $5 and say whatever you’d like. This was exactly what I needed.

$5 and two days later, I had my video. (If you are receiving this post via email, and the video doesn’t appear below, please click through back to the site – the example is worth a look.)

Hot Tip – Be Vigilant and Use Your Imagination: In February of 2012, John Gargani wrote on EvalBlog that he would be celebrating EVALentine’s day on February 15. Not only was he celebrating it, he had made EVALentine’s cards and real, usable, EVAL postage stamps. I got my very own sheet and did my happy dance. John is one of those people who come up with ideas that you wish you had thought of, but (at least in my case) rarely do. John helps me to see the world in a different light, full of opportunity. When I came across the frog a few months ago, I was ready to think about whether there might be a role for him in my own work.

Get Involved: What is the most innovative evaluation reporting technique that you have seen used? Was it effective? Any ideas that you have considered but haven’t yet had the opportunity to try?

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.

5 thoughts on “Susan Kistler on Thinking Imaginatively for Evaluation Reporting”

  1. This isn’t a reporting format, but recently when presenting findings to a large group I encouraged their active participation by sharing a (true) story from the night before, when my 8-year-old had a temper tantrum. I reminded the audience that it is normal for kids to act out at home, more so than in other settings, because they know they are in a safe space. I encouraged the group to think of the session as a “safe space” and to have a few “temper tantrums” – it helped them feel able to speak more freely.

  2. Sheila Robinson

    I think about all the times I have to share current data with committee members and how bored they look hearing about the trends since last month (most of which don’t change much). I think a talking frog might be refreshing! Thanks for reminding us about Fiverr. It contains a wealth of opportunity for evaluators to spice up reporting!

  3. Alicia Moag-Stahlberg

    So creative – great idea — and thank you again for sharing excellent ideas and resources !!

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