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Evaluation Tips: Recipe of Evaluation Techniques

Stanley Capela recently presented the webinar Recipe of Evaluation Techniques for the Real World, one of the American Evaluation Association’s (AEA) ongoing 20-minute Coffee Break webinars. The webinars, offered Thursdays at 11:00 am Pacific time, often present similar tools and tips that are also covered in the Tip a Day blog but allow for audience questions & answers and networking with the presenters. Capela’s recipe focused primarily on internal evaluation in non-profit or government settings where people are seeking realistic answers in response to assessment efforts. His tips include:

  • Value People’s Time all time is valuable, regardless of who you are working with, and clear communication on the intent of the evaluation helps to make the best use of everyone’s time.
  • Ethical Conduct – working within the parameters of organizational and/or professional association codes of conducts in addition to established support of upper level administration will help to minimize the potential for ethical dilemmas.
  • Know Your Enemies – be aware of those who are resistant to program evaluation and may try to undermine these efforts, and also know that you as an evaluator may be perceived as an enemy by others. Again, clear communication helps!
  • Culture of Accountability – take the time to know the story of those you are working with – where are they coming from? What is their history with previous assessments? Were their needs met, or were there issues that had negative effects on relationships and outcomes?
  • Do Something – avoid cycles of conducting reviews, identifying deficiencies, and outcomes that only include developing correction plans. Also important to note is that program evaluation does not solve management problems.
  • A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words – find ways to integrate charts that direct the reader to the most important information clearly and concisely.
  • Let Go of Your Ego – working from a mindset that accepts the people conducting the program itself will most likely ‘get the credit,’ and that your measure of success is doing your job to the best of your ability and knowing you made a difference.
  • Give Back – develop a network of trusted colleagues, such as through personal and organization connections on LinkedIn and other platforms, share ideas, and ask questions, since others have probably encountered a similar situation or can connect you with those who have.

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