I am a social scientist. I look for the social in the science of what I do.

I am an evaluator as a social scientist. I want to determine the merit, worth, value of what I do. I want to know that the program I’m evaluating (or offering) made a difference. (After all, the root of evaluation is value.)

Keeping that in mind has resulted (over the years) in the comment, “no wonder she is the evaluator” when I ask an evaluative question. So I was surprised when I read a comment by a reader that implied that it didn’t matter. The reader said, “The ugly truth is, it does not matter if it makes a difference. Somewhere down the road someone will see your post and may be it will be useful for him.” (Now you must know that I’ve edited the comment, although the entire comment doesn’t support my argument:  Evaluators need to know if the program made a difference.)

So the thought occurred to me, what if it didn’t make a difference? What if the program has no value? No worth? No merit? What if by evaluating the program you find that it won’t be useful for the participant? What does that say about you as an evaluator? You as a program designer? You as an end user? Is it okay for the post to be useful “somewhere down the road”? Is blogging truly “a one way channel to transfer any information you have over the web.” How long can a social-scientist-always-looking-at-the-social continue to work when the information goes out and rarely comes back? I do not know. I do know that blogging is hard work. After six and one-half years of writing this blog almost weekly,  writer’s block is my constant companion.writers-block 2 (although being on a computer, I do not have a pile of paper, just blank screens). So I’m turning to you, readers:

Does it make a difference whether I write this blog or not?

Am I abdicating my role as an evaluator when I write the blog?

I don’t know. Over the years I have gotten some interesting comments (other than the “nice job” “keep up the work” types of comments). I will pause (not in my writing; I’ll continue to do that) and think about this. After all, I am an evaluator wanting to know what difference this program makes.

my two cents.


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2 thoughts on “Making a difference…again.

  1. Molly, never stop writing. If n=1 is ok with you, it has made a difference to me. As a fellow evaluator, being part of a process that effects change, is inherently about making a difference. We make the choice about what we bring to the process, or not as the case may be. Be the Change

  2. Although, I would have a difficult time justifying an N=1 (to journals, my peers, other scholars), I think that knowing I made a difference in one person is sufficient. In the community choir to which I belong, we end all performances and rehearsals with these words. Knowing that I am being the change I wish to see in the world helps, even if I do not see the change quickly. Thanks for your comment!

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