We all have an audience (unless we are a reclusive hermit). The issue is what kind an 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.
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.
Is all evaluation about making decisions? It all depends.
Evaluation is determining the merit, value, worth of a program or project.
If you can answer that, you have captured your audience.
*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 Unpublished manuscript.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.