Hello, AEA365 community! Liz DiLuzio here, Lead Curator of the blog. This week is Individuals Week, which means we take a break from our themed weeks and spotlight the Hot Tips, Cool Tricks, Rad Resources and Lessons Learned from any evaluator interested in sharing. Would you like to contribute to future individuals weeks? Email me at AEA365@eval.org with an idea or a draft and we will make it happen.
Hello! I am Kavita Mittapalli, Ph.D. I own a K-16 research and evaluation firm, MN Associates, Inc. (MNA) just outside Washington DC metropolitan area. I founded MNA in 2004 as a graduate student at George Mason University. I have a Ph.D. in Research Design and Methodology in Education. We are a team of five evaluators and an administrative staff with a combined 65 years of experience conducting a wide variety of social science and STEM education research and evaluation projects across the country.
In 2008, when I was dissertating (yes, that’s an accepted word), one of the faculty members in our How to Write Your Dissertation 1-credit class quoted Aristotle very enthusiastically in an attempt to make it “seem” easy to write a dissertation.
They said, “Begin with What you will tell them, then Tell them, and close with What you have told them,” which will pretty much constitute your dissertation chapters:
(Abstract), Introduction, Literature Review, Methods, Analyses/Findings, and Conclusion/Summary.
To this day, I follow this general guideline (I know it is a bit cliché too) with tweaks and modifications based on clients’ needs and budget to write our evaluation reports.
Typically, a 20-25 pages evaluation report for a small to mid-sized contract consists of these sections: A) Table of Contents, B) Acknowledgements, C) Disclaimer notice (copyright issues, if any) – generally we don’t count these towards the 20-25 pages.
Tell it all briefly (1-2 pages)
- Executive summary (with small tables/graphs)
Tell them what you will tell them (3-4 pages)
- Organization of the report
Tell them more what you will tell them (2-3 pages)
- Evaluation: Plan, design, questions, performance metrics, and data collectio methods
Tell them (5-6 pages)
- Data analysis (include easy to understand tables, graphs/data viz + narrative)
- Findings organized per evaluation question, as feasible
Tell them what you told them (2-3 pages)
- Conclusions – Summary
Tell them, even if it’s not at good news (2-3 pages)
- Lessons learned
- Recommendations, if any
If you want to tell them even more, then include:
- Appendices with tools/instruments used, technical/methodology section, detailed stats., images, etc. (page limit varies and based on clients’ needs).
Don’t forget the References.
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