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

TAG | Evaluation 2011

I am Susan Kistler, AEA’s Executive Director, and this week I’m posting about two completely separate things: On the one hand, I want to tell you about the AEA conference program and on the other hand, I’m trying out curate.us.

Rad Resource – Evaluation 2011 Searchable Conference Program: This highly searchable online program is a great resource even if you aren’t attending the American Evaluation Association Annual Conference this November in Anaheim (although I truly hope to see you there!).

Clipped from: www.eval.org (share this clip)

Hot Tip for Conference Attendees: The online searchable program includes abstracts for each session. The hardcopy program that you will receive on site does not (if it did, it would be well over 800 pages). Take time in advance to search the online program as it will give you details to help make your decision about which sessions to attend much easier.

Hot Tip for Everyone: The conference program is a great resource for identifying colleagues for collaborative work. Search the program for presentations related to your needs, then reach out via email to network.

Rad Resource Curate.us: Curate.us takes a screenshot of any website and makes it embeddable in email, blogs, and websites. I’m trying it out so that we may add more visual appeal to aea365, but also because it should speed up loading of aea365 on the aea365 website. It’s working well, at least from the back-end – easy to clip, resize the full clip, and embed. I can see all of the clips I’ve made nicely in an archive on the curate.us website. I love being able to add a yellow posty too. And, if you click on the screenshot, I can track clickthroughs. Downsides? It only clips the full width of a site, and I can’t seem to resize the posty.

And, I’m turning to aea365 readers – are there other downsides? Does the above screenshot come through for you well in your email reader or browser? Add to the comments if any problems.

Hot Tip: Try the “share this clip” link that appears right below the screenshot above. It will take you to the interface for curate.us so you can see how it works. Go ahead and play around a bit – you won’t need to log in and you won’t change how the clip looks on aea365.

Hot Tip: On a side note, I could see curate.us being useful to evaluators in other ways, for instance embedding small screenshots in a report as needed, directing colleagues to a site via email, etc. I’ve also discovered that it is a good way to archive notes to myself about particular resources. I take the screenshot and put the note in a posty. Then, I can check on sites for which I have annotations in the curate.us archive.

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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Susan Kistler here, AEA’s Executive Director. It’s Saturday, March 12, 2010 and I have a question. How is your conference proposal coming for Evaluation 2011? I can’t wait to see everyone in November in Anaheim!

Hot Tip: Go ahead, submit a proposal. It is a great way to share what you have learned about evaluation planning, data collection methods, reporting, evaluation use, working with stakeholders, values and valuing, the theoretical underpinnings of the field, and tools and techniques. The key is to focus on evaluation, evaluation methodologies, evaluation theories, or running your evaluation business, not on evaluation findings. If you are reporting on findings, use them as context, as evidence of success (or failure) of the evaluation itself, as the basis of an exploration of evaluation use – but not as the primary focus of your proposed presentation.

Hot Tip: You do not need to be an AEA member to submit a conference proposal.

Hot Tip: Having a proposal on the Evaluation 2011 program can help you to build your professional network. You’ll meet attendees at your session with an interest in your area and you’ll find that even non-attendees use the searchable conference program as a type of directory to identify colleagues working on shared issues.

Hot Tip: Friday, March 18, 2011 – this coming Friday – is the proposal submission deadline. While we have been accepting proposals since mid-January, we’ll likely receive over 900 proposals, out of the roughly 1200 total, on Friday. A staff person scans each proposal individually for completeness and sends a confirmation of receipt. Given the calls and emails for assistance on Friday, it is a very busy day. If you submit your proposal even one day early, you’re much more likely to get a rapid confirmation, immediate assistance, and our eternal thanks!

Hot Tip: There is competitively awarded travel assistance available for full-time students http://www.eval.org/eval2011/11students.htm and colleagues working in developing countries or countries in transition http://www.eval.org/eval2011/11international.htm.

Hot Tip: Go to http://www.eval.org/eval2011/default.asp to learn more about the conference and submit a proposal before the Friday, March 18, deadline.

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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Hi. I’m John Daws, a Senior Research Specialist in the Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth, and Families at the University of Arizona, in Tucson. I’m here to ask you to consider submitting a conference proposal to the LGBT Issues Topical Interest Group for the American Evaluation Association Annual Conference.

Have you worked on an evaluation recently in which you asked the participants about their sexual orientation or sexual identity? Have you worked on an evaluation in which you wanted to ask, but didn’t? Or couldn’t? Please share this work with us by submitting a proposal between now and March 18 for Evaluation 2011, to be held the first week in November in Anaheim, California.

We plan to have a mix of presentations and roundtables. One roundtable may be designed for evaluators who have not previously included LGBT questions in their work, but would like to discuss how to do so, why it matters, and what value can be added.

As a TIG, we want to raise awareness of the complexity of inquiring about gender and sexual identity, without overwhelming the evaluator. It is routine to include a simple two-point question about the sex of the person participating in an evaluation: “Are you Male or Female?” That simple question might be adequate sometimes, but a good evaluator should realize when it isn’t. The simple question is ambiguous: are we asking how the person identifies currently, or how they were identified at birth? The simple question is incomplete: it precludes responses such as Intersex or Transgender. The simple question also does nothing to find out the respondent’s sexual orientation (straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, etc.) or sexual behavior.

Hot tip: The recording of Joe Heimlich’s AEA Coffee Break Webinar on “Adding the LGBT Response Option on Questionnaires” will be added to the AEA webinar archive next week.

Rad resources: Fraser, J. & Heimlich, J.E. (Eds) (2008) Where is Queer? Themed issue: Museums & Social Issues. 3(1).

Valdes, F. (1995) Queers, sissies, dykes, and tomboys: Deconstructing the conflation of “sex,” ”gender,” and “sexual orientation” in Euro-American law and society. California Law Review. 83(1) 1-198.

Hot Tip: Go to  http://www.eval.org/eval2011/default.asp , click on “Submit a Conference Proposal,” and request the LBGT TIG as the reviewing group right on the proposal form. WAY cool. See you in Anaheim!

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating LGBT Evaluation Week with our colleagues in the LGBT AEA Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our LGBT members and you may wish to consider subscribing to our weekly headlines and resources list where we’ll be highlighting LGBT resources. 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.

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I’m John Nash and I’m the program co-chair, with Stuart Henderson, for the American Evaluation Association’s newest Topical Interest Group, Data Visualization and Reporting (DVR TIG). I also blog at Reform By Design. I’m here to help you turn the work you may be doing with data visualization and innovative evaluation reporting into proposals for this year’s AEA conference.

Now you may be thinking, “you guys are just the ‘good PowerPoint’ TIG, right?”

Hardly.

Lessons Learned: Slide presentations are a prominent tool in an evaluator’s reporting kit. The question is are they as good as they could be? One lesson we’ve learned is that the answer is no. So, fostering excellent presentation design is definitely part of our gig. As Garr Reynolds notes, in his book Presentation Zen (2008), “…most presentations remain mind-numbingly dull, something to be endured by both presenter and audience alike. Presentation are generally ineffective, not because presenters lack intelligence or creativity, but because they have learned bad habits and lack awareness about what makes for a great presentation (and what does not)” (p. 11). Therefore, we are interested in promoting a dialogue on effective presentation design and delivery in the name of advancing useful evaluations.

Lessons Learned: Another lesson we’ve learned is that data visualization beyond what we may see and use day to day has great promise for evaluation reporting. Evaluators are no strangers to the graphical presentation of data – histograms, pie charts, line graphs are used every day in many ways. However, effective, useful reporting of evaluation results sometimes requires more elegant solutions than what our stat packages and online survey tools spit out. How can the visualization of data, writ large, help evaluation users assimilate information faster? Foster epiphany? Inspire awe? We’re hoping to find out.

Hot Tip: You have a chance to advance the cause. The DVRTIG is seeking proposals for the AEA Evaluation 2011 Conference to be held the first week in November in Anaheim. While you’re not limited to the following, you might consider proposals in these areas:

  • Define data visualization as it applies to evaluation.
  • Illustrate the use of data visualization for evaluation planning and analysis.
  • Translate complicated data into understandable visual mediums.
  • Explore alternative reporting options, including social media.
  • Chronicle efforts to make evaluation more beautiful and useful.
  • Report on empirical work examining the impact of visualizations on use, utility or stakeholder impact.
  • Demonstrate how data visualization, design, and aesthetics can enhance utilization.

The Call for Proposals and submission forms may be found on the Evaluation 2011 Conference Website. The deadline for proposal submission is Friday, March 18.

Do you have other ideas for proposals that you think would be a great fit? Please contact me (jnash@iastate.edu) or Stuart (stuart.henderson@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu) with an email to let us know your thoughts!

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Data Visualization and Reporting Week with our colleagues in the new DVR AEA Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our DVR members and you may wish to consider subscribing to our weekly headlines and resources list where we’ll be highlighting DVR resources. 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.

My name is Susan Kistler, the Executive Director for the American Evaluation Association. I contribute each Saturday’s post to aea365.

Hot Tip – Submit a Proposal for Evaluation 2011: The 2011 Call for Proposals went online this week for AEA’s annual conference to be held the first week of November in Anaheim, California. We anticipate that over 2500 delegates from around the world will join us in California for this, AEA’s 25th Anniversary Conference.

Hot Tip – Consider a Poster or Roundtable if this is your first time presenting: The poster exhibition is the most well attended session at the conference. Roundtables are small-group discussion-based exchanges. Both posters and roundtable allow for the types of dialogue that help to build your professional network and may be less intimidating than a formal presentation in a large room.

Hot Tip – Focus on the Evaluation part of Program Evaluation: All proposals submitted to AEA go through a peer-review process via one of over 45 reviewing teams. While it may seem obvious, to increase your likelihood of acceptance, if you are talking about a program evaluation focus more on the evaluation and less on the program. Let the program specifics and the findings themselves provide context for things such as your lessons learned about conducting quality evaluations, about how to report evaluation findings, and about how to facilitate evaluation use.

Hot Tip – Sign up for AEA’s Free Webinar on Submitting a Conference Proposal: If you haven’t submitted to AEA before, sign up for our free webinar on proposal submission to be held on Thursday, February 3, from 2:00-2:20 PM. If you aren’t a member and would like a free pass, email Heidi at heidi@eval.org.

I hope to see you in November in Anaheim!

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