Hi, my name is Corey Smith and I am a brand new student in the interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in evaluation at Western Michigan University. Recently we were fortunate to have Dr. Rodney Hopson of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA visit us. Dr. Hopson gave a presentation titled “Evaluation and the Public Good.” Below I discuss some lessons I learned.
The presentation was a discussion of for whom we, as evaluators, do evaluation, how we practice evaluation, who benefits from it, and to what end.
Lessons Learned: One of the main points Dr. Hopson discussed in his presentation was the need for culturally adaptive tools in evaluation. Take for example the logic model, a tool gaining in popularity in the field of evaluation. Whether you like them or not, logic models are being requested by evaluation clients and used increasingly in theory-driven evaluations. For program stakeholders who do not relate or connect with the visual form that regular logic models often take, they have limited or no use. Dr. Hopson emphasized that the model developed should fit the way stakeholders view the program. As a relatively new student in evaluation, I have yet to make up my own mind about their usefulness or relevance to my own practice of evaluation, however I think that the way they are presented to stakeholders and the different forms they can take is an interesting area of study. Alternative logic models and culturally adaptive evaluation tools can help us engage with stakeholders and better understand the intricacies of the programs we are evaluating and people that they affect.
Rad Resource: Matt Keene & Chris Metzner’s AEA coffee break webinar on Fuzzy Logic Models – AEA Members can log in and view the recording for free here.
This site was the focus of the webinar as well as a presentation done at Evaluation 2011 by Matt Keene and Chris Metzner on fuzzy logic models. It shows how they were able to transform a traditional logic model into something interactive and visually appealing while still visually representing the program theory: http://paintstewardshipprogram.com/
Rad Resource – Doview Software: DoView was also presented in an AEA Coffee Break Webinar by Paul Duignan (available free to members here). The software provides an easy way to develop models in real time, and in settings where stakeholders can be active participants. The result will be a model which shows the program through their eyes, the ultimate goal for an adaptive logic model.
All this week, we’re highlighting posts from colleagues at Western Michigan University as they reflect on a recent visit from incoming AEA President Rodney Hopson. 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. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.