Thinking. We do it all the time (hopefully). It is crucial to making even the smallest decisions (what to wear, what to eat), and bigger decisions (where to go, what to do). Given this challenging time, even news watchers would be advised to use evaluative and critical thinking. Especially since evaluation is an everyday activity.
This graphic was provided by WNYC. (There are other graphics; use your search engine to find them.)This graphic makes good sense to me and this applies to almost every news cast (even those without a shooter!). Read the rest of this entry »
The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you have not found it yet, keep looking. Do not settle. ~~Steve Jobs.
I made choices about the work I did. I made choices about the life I lived. I did not settle.
It is an easy life to “go with the flow”; to settle, if you will. Convenience is not always the best way even though it might be the easiest. Did I do great work? I don’t know. Did I hear stories of the work I did? I was told after the fact that I had made a difference because of the work I had done. Perhaps, making a difference is doing great work. Perhaps.
However, this quote from Steve Jobs reminded me that loving what one does is important, even if one does not do “great work”. If one does not love what one does, one needs to do what one loves. Read the rest of this entry »
The person without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder. (Thomas Carlyle)
There is much written about finding your purpose if life. Songs are written about purpose; self-help books are written about purpose; businesses are devoted to the concept; jewelry, leadership, among other things, all focus on purpose.
So how do you find purpose? How do you know what your are “supposed” to do in this life? How does that relate to evaluation? Finding your purpose can be really confusing. Let me share a story with you.
I lived in Birmingham, AL in the 80s and 90s. Birmingham is the only place I have lived (and I’ve lived many places) where if you woke up on the first day of spring, EVERYTHING would be in bloom. Everything! In Oregon, spring creeps up on you (a wonderful experience, to be sure). In Minnesota, it feels like it is spring one day and summer the next (or if you are not lucky, winter, again). In Tucson, spring happens in February and if you blink you miss it (well, almost). So I was marveling one day around the first day of spring how wonderful life was and I had an epiphany. I conceptualized what were the three things I wanted to do in this life. I wanted to do good work. I wanted to be a good friend. I wanted to grow spiritually. (I knew that being a boss was not for me, even though it came with perks.)
I had just finished a doctoral program in program evaluation. I realized that I would be “in the trenches” a long time and would spend most of my career doing evaluation work (as opposed to teaching evaluation, researching evaluation, writing about evaluation). I saw that as my purpose. To do good work–good evaluation work.
So what does it mean to do “good evaluation work”? Read the rest of this entry »
That is not easy. I ride my bike all the time. (Yep. Really.) I compost. I grow my own vegetables in the summer and support my farmers’ market and CSA (both of which, thankfully, run through Thanksgiving). But I ask my self, “Am I making a difference?” Read the rest of this entry »
It has been almost a month since I last blogged. When I last blogged, I talked about evaluation history. That blog was a bunny path from what I had been talking about: methodology. I was talking about the implementation, monitoring, and delivery of interventions which are to be evaluated. Another methodology I want to talk about is case study. I did go through the archives to locate the blogs relating to case study. They are below.
Having written about evaluation history previously, I identified those who contributed, not those who could be called evaluation pioneers; rather those who had influenced my thinking. I think it is noteworthy to mention those evaluation pioneers who set the field on the path we see today, those whom I didn’t mention and need to be. As a memorial (it is Memorial Day weekend , after all), Michael Patton (whom I’ve mentioned previously) is coordinating an AEA365 to identify and honor those evaluation pioneers who are no longer with us. (Thank you, Michael). The AEA365 link above will give you more details. I’ve also linked the mentioned evaluation pioneers that have been remembered. Some of these pioneers I’ve mentioned before; all are giants in the field; some are dearly loved as well. All those listed below have died. Patton talks about the recent-dead, the sasha, and the long-dead, the zamani. He cites the Historian James W. Loewen when he makes this distinction. Some of the listed are definitely the sasha (for me); some are zamani (for me). Perhaps photos will help (for whom photos could be found) and dates. There are Read the rest of this entry »
Mistakes are a great educator when one is honest enough to admit them and willing to learn from them.
– Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Even after 30+ years of evaluation, I make mistakes . It may be a mistake that occurs in the planning and modeling; it may be a mistake that occurs in the implementation, monitoring, and delivery; or a mistake in data management (qualitative or quantitative); or more than likely, a mistake in the use of the findings.
Probably the biggest mistake I have ever made was making an assumption at the planning stage. Read the rest of this entry »
Focus groups are a wonderful data gathering collection methodology. Not only are there different skills to learn for interviewing, analysis gives you the opportunity to explore qualitative data analysis. (It is all related after all.)
Now, I will confess that I’ve only ordered the 5th edition of the Krueger and Casey book (I don’t have it). I’m eager to see what is new. So I’ll settle for the 4th edition and try and regale you with information you may not know. (I will talk in a future post about the ways virtual focus groups are envisioned.)
Focus group describes (although sometimes incorrectly) a variety of group processes. Krueger and Casey give the reader a sense of to what to pay attention and to what is based on faulty data. So starting at the beginning, let’s look at an overview of what exactly is a focus group.
Groups are experiences that affect the individual throughout life and are used for planning, decision making, advising, learning, sharing, self-help, problem solving, among others. Yet group membership often leaves the individual Read the rest of this entry »
Previously, I talked about Survey’s (even though I posted it April 27, 2016). Today, I’ll collect all the posts about focus groups and add a bit more.
2010/01/05 Talks about the type of questions to use in a Focus Group
2010/01/27 One of three topics mentioned
2010/09/09 Talks about focus groups in terms of analyzing a conversation
2011/05/31 Talks about focus groups in the context of sampling
2011/06/23 Mentions Krueger, my go to
2013/11/15 Mentions focus groups
2014/10/23 Mentions focus groups and an individual with information
2015/02/11 Mentions focus groups…
2015/05/08 Virtual focus groups
Although focus groups are a mentioned throughout many of my posts, there are few that are exclusively devoted to focus groups. That surprises me. I need to talk more about focus groups. I especially need to talk about what I found when I did the virtual focus groups, more than with the specific post. From the interest at AEA last year, there needs to be much discussion.
So OK. More about focus groups.
Although Dick Krueger is my go to reference for focus groups (I studied with him, after all), there are other books on focus groups. (I just discovered that Krueger and Casey have also revised and published a 5th edition.)
The others for example (in no particular order),
Mary Marczak and Meg Sewell have an introduction to focus groups here (it is shorter that reading the book by Krueger and Casey).
I think it is important to remember that focus groups:
Next time: More on focus groups.