It might be useful for those of you who are interested in evaluation to review a list of evaluation conferences offered around the world this year. Sarah Baughman cited the list offered by Better Evaluation. You could spend all year coming and going. What a way to see the world. That certainly has evaluative opportunities.
2014 beginning question.
One question I am asked by people new to evaluation is How often do I need to conduct an evaluation? How much budget/time/resources do I allot for evaluation? My evaluative answer is “It all depends.”
For new faculty who want to know if their programs are working, (not impact, just working), identify your most important program and evaluate it. Next year, so another program, and so on. If you want to know impact, you will need to wait at least three years, maybe five. Although some programs could show impact after one year. (We are not talking world peace here, only did the program make a difference, does it have merit, value, worth?)
For executive directors, my “it depends answer is still important. They have different needs than program planners and those who implement programs. My friend Stan says executive directors need to know: What is the problem? What caused the problem? How do I solve the problem (in two sentences or less)? Executive directors don’t have a lot of time to devote to evaluation; yet they need to know.
For people who are continuing a program of long standing, I would suggest you answer the question that is most pressing. (It all depends…)
I think these categories mostly cover everybody. If you can think of other situations, let me know. I’ll tell you what I think.