consulting

Oct 31 2017

Lessons from the regions

Having recently returned from a 10 day road trip around regional Victoria I am reflecting on the lessons that can be learned when consulting with communities in small towns. This is because the turn-out to my scheduled consultation meetings was lower than I had hoped. My road trip was a mid-point reading on the mood […]

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Jul 26 2017

Evaluation or research?

I sometimes encounter confusion or misunderstandings from colleagues or associates about the differences between research and evaluation. Because this happened again just recently I feel I would like to outline five ways in which evaluation differs from social or market research. 1. Empirical vs applied knowledge Research involves the production of generalisable knowledge, sometimes theoretical, […]

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Nov 28 2016

KPIs: Key Performance Indicators? Or perhaps not so key?

KPIs: Key Performance Indicators. Surely they’re the most relevant indicator when conducting an evaluation, right? KPIs are widely known and used in the business world. They are known as measurement values that demonstrate how effectively a company is achieving its key business objectives. KPIs are typically quantifiable measures that are used to track and assess […]

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Nov 14 2016

Cause and effect: why does it matter?

Causation can be a basic concept in everyday life. If you slip on a banana peel you will likely fall, therefore it makes logical sense to say that the presence of a banana peel in your path caused you to fall. But things can also get more complex than that. If you think about what […]

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Oct 26 2016

Evaluation in the regional arts sector – current thinking

In the last decade or so, regional arts programs have been designed to be powerful tools with which to engage communities in various levels of change. They have been delivered to address regional renewal, health outcomes, quality of life, sense of place, transformation, social development and marginalisation. Yet, the literature reveals deficiencies in the quality […]

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Sep 14 2016

Community Panels: consistent consultation in small regional towns

Consulting with communities over the long-term in small regional towns in Australia presents similar challenges to consultation in cities. How do you target the right people for consultation? How do you keep people engaged for long-term projects?
 It is a myth that small towns folk have more time on their hands than their busy city […]

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Jul 27 2016

Cause and effect. Is qualitative evidence legitimate?

The exploration of causal pathways is compelling in evaluation and sometimes central. Investigating cause and effect and can be the only way of providing evidence that a program or initiative can be directly attributable to a particular outcome. To understand causal pathways is useful in telling a story of a program and is essential in […]

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May 10 2016

4 benefits of planning evaluations early

Evaluations of programs and initiatives may serve various purposes when conducted at different times in the program’s life. Depending on what you would like to assess, you may wish to conduct an evaluation before the program to collect baseline information to help plan the program, during the program to identify progress and challenges, or after […]

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Apr 15 2016

Theory-based evaluation – addressing an evaluation deficit

Evaluations conducted in the field of arts and cultural initiatives in Australia are often critiqued for their methodologically weakness. Concerns amongst peers and academics have included their reliance on small sample sizes, anecdotal evidence, limited hypothesis testing and little attention to the examination of internal program mechanisms with the aim of looking for causal factors […]

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Mar 29 2016

Monitoring is not evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation are often used interchangeably, yet they are different concepts. As a result, evaluation may be being compromised. Here is the difference between the two terms and their different purposes. Monitoring Monitoring is an ongoing activity of systematic and routine collection of information. Monitoring checks on the progress of a program or initiative […]

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