AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

Mar/14

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SW TIG Week: Katrina Brewsaugh on Why You Want a Social Worker on Your Evaluation Team

I’m Katrina Brewsaugh, Senior Associate with the Annie E. Casey Foundation.  As part of Social Work TIG week on aea365, I’d like to tell you why social workers are an asset to an evaluation team.  Evaluation may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of social work, but the training we receive can be an asset to evaluation teams in several ways.

Lesson Learned:  Social workers are systems thinkers.

Ecological systems theory is at the core of social work training, from the bachelor’s degree through the doctorate.  A social worker on your team can identify issues and concerns that impact the micro- (family), mezzo- (community), and macro- (policy) levels, regardless of whether the evaluation is localized to one small program or has a national policy reach.

Lesson Learned:  Social workers are interdisciplinary.

Social work synthesizes knowledge of related fields such as psychology, sociology, education, public health, and even economics.  On interdisciplinary evaluation teams, a social worker can be an excellent translator and present a unified voice.

Lesson Learned:  Social workers are hands on.

All social workers must complete training in the field working with clients.  If you need someone skilled in engaging and interviewing consumers and stakeholders, then you need a social worker!

Rad Resources:  Here are some places to begin your search for a social work evaluator:

  • Search AEA’s Find an Evaluator list using ‘social work’ or ‘MSW’ as a search term.
  • Contact your local university’s social work program.
  • Contact a member of the Social Work TIG (through the “members only” link on www.eval.org).
  • Look for social workers on EvalTalk or AEA’s LinkedIn page.

So the next time you need to bring together an evaluation team, consider a social worker!

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating SW TIG Week with our colleagues in the Social Work Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our SW TIG members. 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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