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Archive for June, 2009

New from SurveyMonkey: June 2009

SurveyMonkey’s newsletter reports that SurveyMonkey surveys are now optimized for use on iPhones. The June 2009 newsletter states:

“Because it is a device with a modern, standards-compliant browser, any respondent can receive a link to your survey and access it directly on their iPhone.”

Furthermore, SurveyMonkey is currently working to make their surveys optimized on other media or hand-held devices.
In addition, you now have the ability to do the following:

  • Create and download custom charts to enhance the presentation of your survey data.
  • Import these graphics into your own presentation software such as PowerPoint, Word, etc.

To learn more about the updates, you can visit the following topic in the help center: Creating Custom Charts

AEA/CDC Summer Evaluation Institute

I spent the earlier part of the week (June 15-17) in Atlanta attending the AEA/CDC Summer Evaluation Institute and, as usual, came away with some great information.  I’ll be adding some separate blog entries about the sessions I attended, but I thought I would give a rundown on this particular event.  The Summer Evaluation Institute is conducted jointly by the American Evaluation Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so many presenters and attendees were from the CDC – but those of us who attend the AEA conference or other evaluation training events found familiar names on the roll of presenters. The Summer Evaluation Institute differs from the AEA conference in that it is totally training-oriented – offering a limited number of educational sessions between 8:30 and 4:00 pm over 2.5 days.  So you don’t feel conflicted over all the options of a conference and you have plenty of downtime to meet and network with colleagues. As you might expect, there is an emphasis on health-related evaluation in many of the sessions, but that emphasis appears more in the examples used by instructors – the evaluation techniques themselves are applicable across disciplines.  The cost is reasonable.  This year, the cost was $395 for AEA members (and CDC employees) and a little more for non-members. (Sorry I can’t be more specific: the fee is no longer listed at the AEA Web site now that the event is over).  That fee includes three keynote speeches, a choice of training sessions each morning and “breakout” sessions in the afternoon. (I’m not sure how “training sessions” differed from “breakout sessions,” other than length of time – the training sessions were about an hour longer than the breakout sessions).  It also includes breakfast and lunch on most days.  Beginner workshops were offered on June 14 for an additional cost:  “Quantitative Methods for Evaluation;” and “Introduction to Evaluation.”  The Summer Evaluation Institute is held annually, so if you think you might be interested in the 2010 event, check out the AEA web site (eval.org) starting in March.

Data.gov recently launched

A new government Web site, Data.gov, may prove to be a good tool for locating existing data from federal agencies, particularly for those of us doing needs or community assessment.  The Web site is the public’s “one-stop shop” for raw data from economic, healthcare, environmental, and other government agencies.  Along with raw data, the site provides tools for compiling raw data into more analyzable formats (e.g. tables, maps) and widgets (interactive tools with single-service purposes, like showing users the latest news). My quick browsing of the Web site gives me the impression that it is a work in progress.   However, the “about” page says that the catalog of datasets will continue to grow and that the site will be improved based on public feedback. 

Here is a link to the blog entry about Data.gov from the Office of Management and Budget: www.whitehouse.gov/omb/blog/09/05/21/DemocratizingData/