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Archive for September, 2006

Peter Drucker on self-assessment and leadership

This article by Peter Drucker, written in 1999, talks about the important role of self-assessment (a.k.a. self-evaluation) in the nonprofit sector. I think one major “take-home message” of this article is that nonprofits, like for-profit organizations, have a bottom line for which they are accountable. The nonprofit’s “bottom-line” is changing lives. I also like his point that self-assessment is a critical aspect of leadership. Finally, his emphasis on “encouraging constructive dissent” speaks to the need to incorporate participatory methods into our evaluations. Click the link below to find the article:
Self-Assessment: The First Action Requirement of Leadership

Participatory evaluation methods sessions at AEA

Participatory evaluation methods are designed to bring a broad range of project stakeholders into decisions about program evaluation. These stakeholders make decisions about what is evaluated, how it is evaluated, and how results are analyzed and reported. Because of the NNLM’s focus on partnerships with other organizations, the OERC is emphasizing participatory methods during the current contract. For those planning to attend the American Evaluation Association 2006 conference in Portland, Oregon, here is a sample of sessions focused on participatory evaluaton methods. If you want more details, scroll down past the session titles to the conference program link. If you click on it, it will take you to the AEA program schedule page. You can see which sessions feature participatory methods by going to the line that says Sponsoring Group or TIG, choosing “Collaborative, Participatory, & Empowerment Evaluation TIG” and hitting submit.

AEA participatory methods sessions

American Evaluation Association Conference in November

The American Evaluation Association is an international professional organization for evaluators from more disciplines than most of us probably can imagine. Part of the organization’s mission is to provide affordable training to those who want to (or are required to) improve their evaluation skills This year, the annual conference is in Portland, Oregon, Nov. 1-4, with pre-conference professional development workshops conducted Oct 30-Nov 1 and post-conference workshops on Nov 5. Workshops last from a half day to 2 full days. The conference fee is $135 for members, $215 for nonmembers, and $70 for students.  Workshops range in price from $40 to $400 — you can attend the workshops without registering for the conference. If you are interested in learning more about AEA and the conference, here are some links to explore:

AEA conference page

AEA conference professional development workshops

AEA home

Formatting Survey Questions – Advice from Dillman

Donald Dillman is probably the most recognized scholar of social science survey research. He has done numerous experiments about the effect of item formats on how people respond to survey items. For instance, in “check all that apply” survey questions, the items at the top get the most responses because respondents stop reading halfway through the list. Changing the list to a series of “Yes No” questions forces respondents to read the entire list and results in better survey data.

The link below takes you to an article authored by Dillman and Christian that reports results from a series of experiments on item formats that can guide us in the best design of survey questions:

The Influence of Words, Symbols, Numbers, and Graphics on Answers to Self-Administered Questionnaires: results from 18 Experiments

You can find many other articles about surveys at Dillman’s website:

Dillman’s website