I am an evaluator, charter member of the American Evaluation Association, and former member of the forerunner organization, Evaluation Network. When you push my “on ” button, I can talk evaluation until (a lot of metaphors could be used here); and often do. (I can also talk about other things with equal passion, though not professionally.) When my evaluation button is pushed or, for that matter, most of the time, I wonder what difference am I making. In this case, I wonder what difference I am making with this blog.
One of my readers (I have more than I ever imagined) suggested that I develop an “online” survey that I can include regularly in my posts. I thought that was a good idea. I thought I’d go one better and have it be a part of the blog. Then I would tabulate the findings (if there are any 🙂 ). Just so you know, I DO read all the comments; I get at least six daily. I often do not comment on those, however.
So, reader, here is the making a difference survey . This link will (should) take you to Surveymonkey and the survey. Below, I’ve listed the questions that are in the survey.
Check all that apply.
Reading this blog makes a difference to me by:
- _____ Giving me a voice to follow
- _____ Providing interesting content
- _____ Providing content I can use in my work
- _____ Providing dependable post
- _____ Providing me with information to share
- _____ Building my skills in evaluation
- _____ Showing me that there are others in the world concerned with similar things
- _____ Offering me good reading about an interesting weekly topic
- _____ Offering me content of value to me
- _____ Other. Please specify in comment
Please complete the survey.
I was reading Harold Jarche’s blog, Perpetual Beta and he is talking about the interface of the digital and analog worlds; he is talking about connections. I find that that concept applies to evaluators. Here’s how.
I was trained as an evaluator in the 1980s; we didn’t have access to the web, internet, email, FB, or many of the other high technology options available today. I did an NDE (wasn’t called that then) volume (Vol. 62) which was all done by hard copy and the USPS (a tedious and laborious process). I just completed another NDE (now called that) volume (Vol. 145) that was done electronically (no longer tedious, though still a laborious process). This last volume was quick. Although most of the authors entered the field after I did, my co-editor didn’t; he entered before I did. These authors had the luxury of electronics that we didn’t have. I have had to learn how to use electronics; I know my co-editor did, too. (I remember saying to myself and my colleagues, what will my secretary [yes, we used that title] do now that I’m composing on a key-board?) Now I do all my composing and other things on a keyboard; most of my work is augmented with electronics (i.e., the digital world). But I am truly a digital immigrant; learning how to use this new technology, to be in this digital world, is hard for and on me. (My children laugh at me and get exasperated; it is so simple to them.)
Today’s evaluators are highly connected, largely due to the electronic capabilities. Yet there is still evaluator isolation. Makes me wonder if evaluators really connected? Sheila Robinson (the only evaluator in her organization bemoans this fact here). She advocates for connections through EvalTalk and AEA’s LinkedIn account. I still see these as digital, albeit, opportunities to connect. Social media is also mentioned for connections. Still I wonder–are you really connected? With colleagues scattered around the world, this may truly be the only way to stay connected today. Letters and phone calls are truly analog and perhaps passe. Still they are appreciated and sometimes welcome as the only way to connect. What will this world look like if the only way to connect is via digital?
Jarach advocates changing the way we organize. To me that talks about changing the way we work. Maybe evaluators will work in isolation. In order to “see as many possible roads ahead”, perhaps we need to “work in self-managing networks”. “If those who are educated, knowledgeable, and experienced do not push for a better world of work, then who will? An effective knowledge network cultivates the diversity and autonomy of each worker. Knowledge networks function best when each person can choose with whom and when they connect. Solving problems together is becoming the real business challenge.” (From Jarach)
And that affects evaluators!
To whom are you connected? How do you connect? Are you caught in-between?
A reader made the comment that “blogging is like doing case studies”. Made me think about the similarities and differences. Since case study is a well known qualitative method used in evaluation with small samples, I think this view is valid.
I am reminded that 2015 is an important year to all evaluators.
The website, mymande.org/evalyear, , has devoted an entire page to the announcement. They are calling it “EvalYear”. You are invited to join the global year by visiting the mymande website. This web site explains more about the international year of evaluation. Check it out.
The year becomes important when one advocates for evaluation, when one does evaluation, when one supports an evaluator, and/or when one is an evaluator.
What can you do to contribute to 2015; to make 2015 truly an evaluation year?