Book: Evaluation Failures coming this fall

Coming Fall 2018! Evaluation Failures: 22 Tales of Mistakes Made and Lessons Learned. Edited by none other than the great Kylie Hutchinson. Look for me in Chapter 21. I haven’t seen the final copy yet, but I’ve read the other 21 tales and am really looking forward to it.

Forward by Michael Quinn Patton. Contributors are Thomas Archibald, Gail Barrington, Jennifer Bisgard, Isaac Castillo, Jane Davidson, Jara Dean Coffey, Stephanie Evergreen, Benoît Gauthier, Kylie Hutchinson, Susan Igras, Chris Lovato, Rakesh Mohan, Felix Muramutsa, Corey Newhouse, Jan Noga, Emma Williams, Lisa O’Reilly, Hallie Preskill, Mary Pat Selveggio, Robert Shepherd, Karen Snyder, Marla Steinberg, and Diana Tindall.

Just look at the line up. It’s going to be awesome.

 

 

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Evaluation Glossary

Well done Kylie.
Look everyone, now web-based as well.

Check out @EvaluationMaven’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/EvaluationMaven/status/646435853166743556?s=09

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Attended @CGDev’s Measuring and evaluating women’s economic empowerment agenda

This morning I had the opportunity to attend the Center for Global Development’s Public Event
Measuring and Evaluating Women’s Economic Empowerment

A great start to the day, "What Works for Whom and here?" are the baseline questions that make up the evaluations in which I have the most confidence .

A great start to the day, “What Works for Whom and here?” are the baseline questions that make up the evaluations in which I have the most confidence .

While there was much to consider, here are a few interesting tidbits that I took note of during the discussions.

NOTE: These are my on-the-fly notes. If I’ve mis-quoted or mis-attributed anything, I am happy to update the post. 

The day started with excellent context setting by Melanne Verneer. As an advocate for and user of evaluation, she speaks of the (refreshingly) knowledgeably about the field and its application to decision making.

http://womeneconroadmap.org/measurement
— Mayra Buvinic, Senior Fellow, United Nations Foundation https://twitter.com/unfoundation

A thought on gender equity over time “Being ridiculed, to being resisted, to beginning to see change”
— William Savedoff, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development https://twitter.com/billsavedoff

Spending priorities vary wildly within a household, 94% of the time. Her favourite pet statistic is from FAO study on Cote D’Ivoire that $10 in the hands of a woman well advance the same development goals as $110 in the hands of a man.
—Krisila Benson, Senior Director of Program Services, TechnoServe https://twitter.com/TechnoServe

Q: we have seen when empowering women, there’s been a need for someone on their household to take up the slack and often it’s their daughters. how do you track and address unintended consequences?
— (paraphrased, question from the audience – did not catch name/organization in time)

Q: (following a discussion of rigour in monitoring and evaluation) do we need more rigour in evaluation or do we need something else to influence decision-making, policy, and behaviour change on the ground?
— (paraphrased question from the audience, a colleague at the Center for Global Development, but I did not catch the name)

As funders, we may have crippled innovation be demanding programs that are built on prior data.
— Deborah Birx, Ambassador-at-Large, US Global AIDS Coordinator and US Special Representative for Global http://twitter.com/pepfar

Request for feedback and thoughts on DREAMS partnership, http://www.pepfar.gov/partnerships/ppp/dreams/index.htm
— Deborah Birx, Ambassador-at-Large, US Global AIDS Coordinator and US Special Representative for Global​​ http://twitter.com/pepfar

All in all, an excellent set of discussions.

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evalc2015 What I did at conference

I very nearly titled this post ‘What I did at summer camp‘. Last week, I and 450 (+/-) people went to Montreal to join the CES 2015 Annual Conference. It’s fairly often that I find I need to explain to people what evaluation is, where it fits in the world. It’s not difficult, but it’s nearly always at an introductory level. Working remotely or on-site as the external evaluator, there are rarely opportunities to have significant, in-depth, free flowing conversations about what I do or new ideas on how to do it better. Also, I’m a bit of an extrovert. I like being in the same room as people. So conferences are a lot like professional summer camp, heavy on the learning and relationships.

I’ve never understood employers who won’t pay for conferences, at least in part. I’m baffled by those who won’t give time to attend. One needn’t attend everything every year, but there is so much that can be accomplished in such a short period of time when everyone is in the same space. It’s different for the sole proprietor or small non-profit organization that has very limited funds, but really, everyone else should get to something at least every couple of years.

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New insights from unexpected places

From my preferred physics blog, an engineer and economist looks at “fairness”, specifically income inequality.

What’s fair?: New theory on income inequality

http://m.phys.org/news/2015-05-fair-theory-income-inequality.html

I haven’t read the full article yet, but they’ve got my attention.

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Three cheers for building this great list of resources

sourced from http://www.morguefile.com/

Thanks to Gene Shackman, Ph.D.

Three cheers to Gene Shackman, Ph.D., who took the time to collect together a list all the free on line journals [he] could find relating to evaluation and social research methods.

The list is at  http://gsociology.icaap.org/methods/resrch.htm.

Check out his old school, don’t fix what isn’t broken website. It’s making me long for the days when I actually knew old the code on the page I was looking at.

Gene Shackman's Research List

Gene Shackman’s Research List

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I see evaluation everywhere…

Isn’t it nice to read something well written and evenly paced about policies that can be fraught with well meaning, anecdotally based theory?

Reading this article brings to mind a few thoughts:
(1) be very cautious about correlation,
(2) those are some interesting studies described, how’d they do that?*
(3) what other assumptions are invalid, and
(4) more than ever, I’d like to see evaluations of policies and implementation tools be the norm, not the exception.

From Walter Frick for The Atlantic: A Strong Welfare State Produces More Entrepeneurs

http://m.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/03/welfare-makes-america-more-entrepreneurial/388598/?single_page=true

* And really, how? Did they interview people as well? Were there multiple lines of evidence? Who paid for this research, because that’s also fascinating? Was it difficult, or did the days fly by doing it? What tools did they use? Are these reusable measures, or context-specific? So many other questions.

(post published from my phone, because that’s what I was reading after dinner when I found the article)

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