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Archive for the ‘OERC’ Category

Two Great Photovoice Guides

Monday, October 5th, 2015

[guest post by Cindy Olney, OERC]

Photovoice is an evaluation method for the times.  This method engages program stakeholders (learners; service recipients; community members) in taking photographs and using them as springboards to express their experiences and points of view.  With the prevalence of cameras in mobile devices, along with social media forums, most of us already are engaging in the foundational practices underlying photovoice: taking photos, posting them, and sharing our experiences.  Add in some facilitators who provide systematic method design, project management and ethical oversight; and you have the potential to gather program insights that would go untouched through traditional methods.

Today’s post introduces you to two practical resources written by action researchers describing their lessons learned about conducting photovoice projects. The documents also show you or link you to photos and commentary from contributing participants.


From the Prairie Women’s Health Centre of Excellence

One comprehensive guide comes from the Prairie Women’s Health Centre of Excellence  (PWHCE), located in Canada.  The center engages in collaborative, community-based research on social and other determinants of the health of women and girls. The center’s mission is to provide expert advice on social policies related to women’s health. The authors (Beverly Palibroda, Brigette Krieg, Lisa Murdock and Joanne Havelock) published A Practical Guide To Photovoice: Sharing Pictures, Telling Stories and Changing Communities, a nuts-and-bolts photovoice manual. It provides detailed advice, with periodic sidebars summarizing process. An appendix includes a helpful checklist. You will find sample photovoice entries throughout the document.

The manual was written in 2009.  Since that time, the PWHCE has introduced digital story-telling into its portfolio of participatory methods.  Check out the stories here.


Another guide was produced based on a photovoice project for, an educational website providing authoritative information about brain injury symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. The project featured the stories of eight members with traumatic brain injury.  The gallery of essays is available here.   Facilitators Laura Lorenz and Barbara Webster developed a succinct facilitator guide based on this project.

If you want to learn how to do a photovoice project, these documents are a great place to start. You also can find other resources in OERC’s blog entries posted in 2012 and  2014.

Planning & Evaluating Health Information Outreach Project

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

*Small group learning experience via teleconference, limited to 20 participants

Is your library committed to making inroads with community partners? We invite you to learn outcomes-based planning in an online group setting. Our group will explore health information outreach project planning. Examples of community outreach include: inviting a community partner to do health screenings at your location; hosting wellness classes taught by a community partner; teaching health information classes at a community partner’s location; or collaborating with partners to bring in guest speakers on health topics. We will use the Planning & Evaluating Health Information Outreach Projects Booklets, a series of three booklets from The Outreach Evaluation Resource Center (OERC).

Getting Started with Community-Based Outreach
Thursday, October 29th 10:30 – 11:30 AM ET
We’ll discuss the best approaches to get organized to perform a literature search, identify our stakeholders and gather community information.

Planning Outcomes-Based Outreach Projects
Tuesday, December 1st 10:30 – 11:30 AM ET
Come learn how to connect activities to outcomes with a logic model. Participants will have a chance to share ideas for outreach to community partners and get feedback from others.

Collecting and Analyzing Evaluation Data
Thursday, January 14th 10:30 – 11:30 AM ET
The National Network of Libraries of Medicine Outreach Evaluation Resource Center (OERC) leadership will go over the ins and outs of data collection methods. We will learn how to analyze data for quantitative methods and qualitative methods.

Health Information Outreach Project Planning and Evaluation Showcase
Tuesday, April 12th 10:30 – 11:30 AM ET
Share your completed worksheets and activities from the Planning and Evaluating Health Information Outreach Projects booklets. The showcase is open to all NER network members interested to learn more about getting started with community-based outreach, planning outcomes-based outreach projects, and collecting and analyzing evaluation data.

What You Will Get from the Experience:

  • The Planning & Evaluating Health Information Outreach Projects Booklets
  • Peer support for planning outreach to community partners
  • Independent study of booklets in advance of group discussion
  • 8 Medical Library Association CE units

Register on our training calendar.

You can attend all sessions, or teleconference of your choice. We hope you will attend all. Attendees who attend all four teleconferences may receive 8 Medical Library Association CE units (pending approval).

This project is led by Margot Malachowski (Baystate Health), Michelle Eberle (NN/LM NER), Cindy Olney (NN/LM OERC), and Karen Vargas (NN/LM OERC) and sponsored by the NN/LM Healthy Communities COI (Community of Interest).

Give Your Elevator Pitch a Lift

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

[guest post by Cindy Olney, OERC]

Forget about elevator speeches.  Think elevator conversations.

Elevator pitches are one of a number of strategies you can use to stealthily promote your organization’s successful programs and services. We cover elevator pitches in an OERC workshop about how to use evaluation to better advocate for your organization. I always thought of elevator pitches as little promotional speeches of elevator-ride length (i.e. 20-seconds) that you can slip into small talk when you run in to “someone influential.”  You add nuggets of evaluation findings to these mini-speeches to demonstrate program value.

I now see that I was missing a key element in the elevator pitch exchange: the other person.

I can thank this insight to Tim David and his article Your Elevator Pitch Needs an Elevator Pitch, which appeared in the Harvard Business Review (10 Dec 2014).  David emphasizes the importance of engaging your fellow elevator traveler, rather than talking “at” him or her.

As such, you have to prepare a conversation, not a speech.

What I appreciate in particular is how he seamlessly slips in evidence to support his low-key pitch. See, for instance, how he surreptitiously inserts a statistic that he must have obtained from a follow-up evaluation with one of his client organizations.  Specifically, the organization reported that productivity and morale increased 38% after his training. David seamlessly folds that little fact into the conversation and it underscores the value his service provided to the organization.

That’s how to tie evaluation to advocacy, folks!

Here are the other tips I took away from the article:

  • Answer polite but perfunctory questions (such as “what does your office do?”) with a surprising answer. This is harder than it looks, so I’m going to have to practice this tip. (“Hi Mom, did you know….?”)
  • Use questions to draw your elevator companion into the conversation. David suggests that you talk no more than 20% of the time. Yield the remainder of the time to the other traveler, but use questions to keep the conversation rolling.
  • Don’t worry too much about that 20-second time frame traditionally recommended for elevator pitches. If you successfully engage your fellow rider, he or she will hold the elevator door open to continue the chat.

We have posted a number of articles about weaving evaluation results into stories (see June 29, July 2, and August 21 of this year. The elevator pitch format is a good addition to your story-telling tool kit. But it is the extra-credit challenge. It will take some practice to be able to present an elevator pitch casually and conversationally. If you’re up for that challenge, then check out Tim David’s article for some excellent guidelines.

Which Online Survey Tool Should I Use? A Review of Reviews

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

[Guest post by Karen Vargas, OERC]

Recently we faced the realization that we would have to reevaluate the online survey tool that we have been using. We thought that we would share some of the things that we learn along the way.

First of all, finding a place that evaluates survey products (like Survey Monkey or Survey Gizmo), is not as easy as going to Consumer Reports or Amazon (or CNET, Epinions, or Buzzillions).  A number of places can be found on the internet that provide reviews of surveys, but their quality is highly varied.   So for this week our project has been to compare review websites to see what we can learn from and about them.

Here are the best ones I could find that compare online survey tools:’s Ultimate Guide to Forms and Surveys, Chapter 7 “The 20 Best Online Survey Builder Tools”

This resource compares 20 different online survey tools. There is a chart with a brief statement of what each survey tool is best for, what you get for free, and the lowest plan cost. Additionally, there is a paragraph description of each tool and what it does best.  Note: this is part of an eBook published in 2015 which includes chapters like “The Best Online Form Builders for Every Task.”’s “18 Awesome Survey & Poll Apps”

This review was posted on May 27, 2015 which reassures us that the information is most likely up to date.  While there are very brief descriptions, it is good for a quick comparison of the survey products. Each review includes whether or not there is a free account, if the surveys can be customized, and whether or not there are ready-made templates.’s “Top Survey Software Products”

This resource appears to be almost too good to be true. Alas, no date shown means that the specificity in the comparisons might not be accurate.  Nevertheless, this website lists over 200 survey software products, has separate profile pages on each product (with varying amounts of detail), and lists features that each product offers.  You can even narrow down the surveys you are looking for by filtering by feature.  Hopefully the features in Capterra’s database are kept updated for each product.  One thing to point out is that at least two fairly well-known survey products (that I know of) are not in their list.’s “Top 31 Free Survey Apps”

Another review site with no date listed. This one compares 31 apps by popularity, presumably in the year the article was written. One thing that is unique about this review site is that the in-depth review includes the history and popularity of the app, the differences of each app to other apps, and who they would recommend the app to.  Many of the reviews include videos showing how to use the app.  Pretty cool.’s 2015 Best Survey Software Reviews and Comparisons

This website has the feel of Consumer Reports. It has a long article explaining why you would use survey software, how and what the reviewers tested, and the kinds of things that are important when selecting survey software. Also like Consumer Reports, it has ratings of each product (including the experiences of the business, the respondents, and the quality of the support), and individual reviews of each product showing pros and cons. Because the date is included in the review name, the information is fairly current.

This is a starting point. There are individual reviews of online survey products on a variety of websites and blogs, which are not included here.  Stay tuned for more information on online survey tools as we move forward.

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