May
26
Filed Under (program evaluation) by Molly on 26-05-2016

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 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 »

May
13
Filed Under (program evaluation) by Molly on 13-05-2016

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 mistakes3 . 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. mistakes1

Probably the biggest mistake mistakes4I have ever made was making an assumption assumption at the planning stage. Read the rest of this entry »

May
06
Filed Under (Methodology) by Molly on 06-05-2016

Focus groupsfocusgroups  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 data base 2 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 »

May
03
Filed Under (Methodology) by Molly on 03-05-2016

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

Discovery

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 dick-1997 is my go to reference for focus groups krueger 4th ed(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.) krueger 5th edition

The others for example (in no particular order),

  1. Stewart, D. W. & Shamadasani, P. N. David Stewart Focus groups 1 ed(1990). Focus groups: Theory and practice. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications. There is a 3rd edition of this book available David Stewart Focus groups
  2. Morgan, D. L. (ed.)david morgan focus groups (1993). Successful focus groups: Advancing the state of the art. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.
  3. Greenbaum, T. L. greenbaum-focus groups (2000). Moderating focus groups. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  4. Greenbaum, T. L. (2nd edition). Greenbaum-focus group research(1998). The handbook for focus group research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  5. Carey, M. A. & Asbury, J-E. Carey book cover(2012). Focus group research. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, Inc.

Plus many others that are published by Sage, available from Amazon, and others. I think you can find one that works for you.

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:

  1. Yield qualitative data;
  2. Are used in evaluation (just not in a pre-post sense);
  3. Are a GROUP activity of people who are typically unfamiliar with each other.

Next time: More on focus groups.

my two cents.

molly.