Apr
24
Filed Under (program evaluation) by Molly on 24-04-2017

Engagement

Engagement is about evaluation.

I read a lot of blogs.

One blog said: “Development programs have to prove that they have had a strong and positive impact.”

Sounds like engagement to me.

(And you can’t have engagement without outreach.)

And outreach and engagement often takes place beyond the walls of the academy. In community.

What is community?

So I went looking.

Not a definition in Scriven’s book.

Did find a book called Methods for Community-based Participatory Research for Health edited by Barbara Isreal, Eugenia Eng, Amy J. Schulz, and Edith A. Parker.

The book can be a resource for students, practitioners, researchers, and community members who use CBPR. Probably is.

You would think that CBPR would have a definition of community.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Apr
17
Filed Under (program evaluation) by Molly on 17-04-2017

Communication.

Connection. Communication. How important is it that you communicate; that you connect?

In reading over some of the comments I have received through this blog, I came upon this partial quote. (Partial because I didn’t report all of it; the remaining is not relevant.)

“I personally…think (blogging) as a one way channel to transfer any information you have over the web.”

Certainly, transferring information about evaluation from me to you, the reader, is this person’s view of blogging.

There has been a lot in the press (among others) over the last several years about avoiding “blue light” and connecting to real people. People with whom you are friendly; they might even be your friends. (I’m not talking about Facebook.) I’m talking about connections; communications. Talking to people face to face. Real connections. Real communications.

Bonding

Professor Peter Cohen  says (in talking about addiction) “…that human beings have a deep need to bond and form connections. It’s how we get our satisfaction. If we can’t connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find…He says we should stop talking about ‘addiction’ altogether, and instead call it ‘bonding.’” Bonding. It relates to connections; to communication.

Read the rest of this entry »

Apr
05
Filed Under (program evaluation) by Molly on 05-04-2017

Innovation, again, leads to two thoughts for today:

  1. Innovation is the first one, from the first Monday video from Scott Reed : Do something. Try anything.  and
  2. the other from Harold Jarche who sites the book, Only Humans Need Apply about automation and intelligent machines.

This does relate to evaluation. Just wait. Patiently.

Where would evaluation be if evaluators didn’t question? Didn’t try anything or something? Evaluators would still be thinking separately; in silos. Would any of the current approaches be available? Would evaluation as a field be where it is today? Not if evaluators didn’t do something; try anything; innovate. Fortunately, evaluators do something. Read the rest of this entry »

Mar
27
Filed Under (program evaluation) by Molly on 27-03-2017

Difference.

I’m an evaluator. I want to make a difference in my programs.

One program that I run is this blog.

I want to know if I am making a difference because that is what evaluation is.

Update.

I have over 300 comments on the blog post by this title currently in my queue.

These need to be read (definitely). Reacted to (or not). Approved (or not).

Perhaps that there is over 300 comments is a measure of difference to the reader; perhaps not.

I am curious as to how people find this particular blog post [Is this blog making a difference (2)].

So here are some of the comments from this post:

    It’s difficult to tell but ultimately, any blog will have it’s own benefits. Keep it up!

    I love reading books and articles and some of those makes difference in my life or my Behavior.

    Your bolg is good and even inspired me too.

    My answer is yes. Your posts were made sense and a difference. If you think that your doing able to help others, keep going and do the best.

    Blogs are really helpful according to me it gives me a freedom to express my knowledge

   …Your article is thought provoking, and I appreciate your post.

 

This is only a small sample. Most are one line. Occasionally, I get a comment that is longer than one line.

So I will keep on doing what I’m doing–writing weekly (more or less).

New Topic.

The Iranian new year (Norooz) happened March 20, 2017.

Norooz has many spellings.

Like most holidays that have been around for a while, Norooz has a lot of symbolism. Basically, Norooz is the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere. (I have friends in the southern hemisphere who decry my acknowledgement of this holiday as it is the beginning of Autumn where they are.)

Each year, I celebrate the holiday in verse. The offering this year follows: (I include an image of Daphne because Daphne is one of my favorite flowering plants that occurs when Spring comes.)

Once again the new year is here,

giving us the opportunity to see a new world.

Let us hear from the physicist looking deeply,

the chemist breathing completely,

the biologist listening closely.

Not the ideologue or the fanatic.

As we look and breath and listen,

the Mother renews with the new year.

Related image

 

Rejoice. Once again.

Monday, March 20, 2017 at 3:29 am PDT

 

 

 

 

Mar
23
Filed Under (criteria, program evaluation) by Molly on 23-03-2017

Audience.

We all have an audience (unless we are a reclusive hermit). The issue is what kind an audience.

An absent audience?

An all inclusive audience?

A captive audience?

An exclusive audience?

Reminds me of the saying, “You can please some of the people, some of the time; all of the people some of the time and not all of the people all of the time.”

So when I teach evaluation (or try to teach evaluation–evaluation is a scary concept), I begin by saying that we are all evaluators, that we evaluate daily. It is truly an everyday activity.

Some people engage at that point. Others are skeptical. Others are deniers.

Like the old saying–some of the people…

Unconsciously (maybe consciously) you identify criteria that will help you make a decision.

That decision will provide you with a decision tree, to be able to make decisions throughout the day.

Criteria.

The other day, I had the opportunity to explore a “teacher-made” test; to determine if it had face validity. The audience was similar to and different from the audience who will ultimately take the test (survey, actually). I needed to capture the concerns about the instrument; to determine if it did what it was supposed to do; and wording issues.

Then a decision needed to be made about its use. We were using the TOP model (Bennett and Rockwell, 1995*).  Specifically the KASA portion of the model.  This model can be used for program planning/development AND program evaluation/performance. Just one  example of a logic model.

There were concerns that the “knowledge” wasn’t specific enough; that the words used were not clear; that “skills” were not specific enough; that not all response options were included in the response set. Some KASA questions   could be easily fixed (the response set); some were not (the specificity issue). I sent the compiled responses to the people in charge of the project. I did not make a decision on the specificity. Perhaps if I knew more about the topic, I could have. Obviously, the survey needed changing.

Decisions.

Is all evaluation about making decisions? It all depends.

Evaluation is determining the merit, value, worth of a program or project.

You want to find out if you have made a difference in the lives of the target audience.

If you can answer that, you have captured your audience.

Citation.

*Bennett, C. & Rockwell, K. (1995, December). Targeting outcomes of programs (TOP): An integrated approach to planning and evaluation. Unpublished manuscript. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska.

https://www.uaf.edu/files/ces/reporting/logicmodel/TOP.pdf

 

 

Feb
13
Filed Under (criteria, program evaluation) by Molly on 13-02-2017 and tagged , , , , ,

Love.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, the day traditionally set aside for lovers–you know the lovey dovey kind. And if you forgot…watch out.

It is the day when Saint Valentine    (officially Saint Valentine of Terni), a widely recognized third-century Roman saint, has his feast day. Since the  High Middle Ages it is associated with a tradition of courtly love. It is said that Valentine’s day was established to counteract the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. There is much we do not know about St. Valentine.

Not courtly love.

I want to talk about a different kind of love (and I do not mean the various definitions of  that word). I want to talk about  your calling; your passion.

A good friend of mine said:  Know what your calling is, your vocation, and follow it faithfully.

She also said in that same missive: “When you are most disgruntled, take a moment of conscious breath or five moments of conscious play!”

This is the love I’m talking about. The love for your calling; your vocation (passion).

And what to do when you feel disgruntled (breathe/play).

Passion.

Susan Kistler,  AEA Executive Director Emeritus, shares perhaps an important message about love:

“Success is made manifest in health and happiness, confidence that you are loved and the capacity to love with others.”

That is passion.

How does that relate to evaluation?

We are all evaluators and  live and work by criteria, whether they are implicit or explicit. Our passions are found in the criteria. We continue that passion for long in our lives–some of us because of family responsibilities; some of us because it is fun. When we get tired, we stop. We still have the passion and that passion comes out when we least expect it. Because once an evaluator (whether formally or not), always an evaluator.

So celebrate your passion tomorrow. And remember to breath…or play!

Jan
16
Filed Under (program evaluation) by Molly on 16-01-2017 and tagged , , , , ,

Resolutions. Renewal.

Renewal is appropriate for the new year. So are resolutions.new-years-resolutions

It has been over a month since I blogged here. And the longer I wait for inspiration, the harder it is to write.

But I’m waiting for inspiration. Really difficult, to be sure.

We all know that resolutions have a great tendency to fail.

So how can one find renewal in these difficult times?

Perhaps it is time to re-evaluate your priorities.

Priorities can change. Depending on circumstances.

Is this a time for you to be more articulate?

Or a time to be more proactive?

A time to be more (fill in the blank)?

Writer’s block

Sheila Robinson the sometime Saturday contributor for AEA 365 Read the rest of this entry »

Dec
07
Filed Under (program evaluation) by Molly on 07-12-2016

Our similarities bring us to a common ground; our differences allow us to be fascinated by each other.

~~Tom Robbins

Fascinated. comet-fascination

I find this quote so interesting by one of my favorite authors. My friends fit this description. I find them fascinating. They are all different; all smart; all creative.

So are my daughters. Both different, smart, and creative. I got good material in the nature/nurture discussion. I find them fascinating.

How do we find the common ground?

Perhaps it is like planning a program.

You want accomplish something (the outcome of a program in economic, environmental, or social terms). You outline what you want to accomplish, make it fit some criteria. Run the program.

Oops. Somewhere the outcome changed. You go back to the drawing board (The Journal of Irreproducible not withstanding). You look at your logic model and at your theory of change to figure out Read the rest of this entry »

Nov
10

Trustworthiness. An interesting topic.

Today is November 9, 2016. An auspicious day, to be sure. (No, I’m not going to rant about November 8, 2016; just post this and move on with my living.) Keep in mind trustworthiness, I remind myself.

I had the interesting opportunity to review a paper recently that talked about trustworthiness. This caused me much thought as I was troubled by what was written. I decided to go to my source on “Naturalistic Inquiry”lincoln book . Given that the paper used a qualitative design, employed a case study method, and talked about trustworthiness, I wanted to find out more. This book was written by two of my long time evaluation guides, Yvonna Lincoln yvonna lincolnand Egon Gubaegon guba bw. (Lincoln’s name may be familiar to you from the Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research which she co-edited with Norman Denzin.)

Trustworthiness

On page 218, they talk about trustworthiness. About the conventional criteria for trustworthiness (internal validity, external validity, reliability, and objectivity). They talk about the questions underlying those criteria (see page 218).

They talk about how the criteria formulated by conventional inquirers are not appropriate for naturalistic inquiry. Guba (1981a) offers four new terms as they have “…a better fit with naturalistic epistemology.” These four terms and the terms they propose to replace are: Read the rest of this entry »

Evaluation is political. I am reminded of that fact when I least expect it.

In yesterday’s AEA 365 post, I am reminded that social justice and political activity may be (probably are) linked; are probably sharing many common traits.

In that post the author lists some of the principles she used recently:

  1. Evaluation is a political activity.
  2. Knowledge is culturally, socially, and temporally contingent.
  3. Knowledge should be a resource of and for the people who create, hold, and share it.
  4. There are multiple ways of knowing (and some ways are privileged over others).

Evaluation is a trans-discipline, drawing from many many other ways of thinking. We know that politics (or anything political) is socially constructed. We know that ‘doing to’ is inadequate because ‘doing with’ and ‘doing as’ are ways of sharing knowledge. (I would strive for ‘doing as’.) We also know that there are multiple ways of knowing.

(See Belenky belenky, Clinchy [with Belenky] belenkyclinchy_trimmed, Goldberger nancy_goldberger, and Tarulejill-mattuck-tarule, Basic Books, 1986 as one.)

OR

(See: Gilligan carol-gilligan, Harvard University Press, 1982; among others.)

How does evaluation, social justice, and politics relate?

What if you do not bring representation of the participant groups to the table?

If they are not asked to be at the table or for their opinion?

What if you do not ask the questions that need to be asked of that group?

To whom ARE your are your questions being addressed?

Is that equitable?

Being equitable is one aspect of social justice. There are others.

Evaluation needs to be equitable.

 

I will be in Atlanta next week at the American Evaluation Association conference. atlanta-georgia-metropolitan

Maybe I’ll see you there!

my two cents.

molly.