Hello! I’m Kylie Hutchinson, an independent evaluation consultant with Community Solutions Planning & Evaluation, author of several books on evaluation and program and planning, and frequent creator of free evaluation resources.
So, you’re doing an evaluation and have analysed the data. Your next task is to write a final report…or is it?
What about hosting a data party?
Data parties are a participatory session where you sit down with your partners, collaborators, and other intended users to collaboratively and equitably explore and interpret the initial results. Data parties are an important but often underutilized activity for promoting enhanced interpretation, greater uptake of recommendations, knowledge translation, and a learning culture.
Other reasons to hold a data party include:
- identify and honour differences in people’s perceptions and interpretation
- empower collaborator voices and incorporate/affirm lived experience
- increase collaborators’ capacity to understand and use data
- identify what data might still be needed
- build consensus on the results & conclusions
- develop realistic recommendations
- increase buy-in for later implementation of recommendations
- inform better programming and policies.
- There is no single recipe or step-by-step instructions for a data party. Your agenda will depend on factors such as the context of the evaluation, type of data collected, data literacy of those attending, and a myriad of other factors. However, I regularly refer to this Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-making as a facilitation refresher or primer.
- Interested in learning more about data parties? I’m hosting a pre-AEA conference workshop titled “Data Parties: Something New for Your Evaluation Toolbox?” on November 2nd.
- Here are some sample questions to ask during a data party.
- I also like sharing this comprehensive example of a data party in action.
- And since the December break is coming up, here is a holiday song about data parties previously published on AEA365.
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