consulting

Mar 20 2020

From a distance. Evaluation in the era of social distancing

No one needs reminding we’re entering challenging financial times and need to practice social distancing. It’s possible that your evaluation plans may need to be pared back or reconfigured. But there are ways that your evaluation project can still be carried out without compromising its validity. 1. Modify the evaluation design Ask your evaluator if […]

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Mar 3 2020

Avoiding positive bias

As evaluators, it is sometimes clear at the outset of a project that there is an expectation of positive outcomes and recommendations that will lead to projects leveraging ongoing funding (perhaps from government, philanthropic organisation, social enterprise or other foundations). There are even times when this is explicitly articulated in the project brief. Evaluators may […]

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Feb 12 2020

Yes, please be judgemental

Evaluation is a field in which we encourage judgement. Rather than living by the ‘Please don’t be so judgemental’ mantra, evaluation is about judgement. It involves pulling all of the empirical data together and making a call. Making a judgement in evaluation goes from the ‘what is so’ (typical of research), to the ‘so what’. […]

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Nov 13 2019

When to make an impact

You’ve delivered a government program or initiative with specific objectives in mind and now you ask yourself: “What was the impact of this program? How can an evaluation answer this question?” You’re right in leaning towards evaluation to answer your question about impact. But is this the right time? Have you let enough time pass […]

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May 2 2019

Collaborating with regional communities

It’s well understood now that arts and culture make regional Australia a better place. Communities thrive when people come together to share stories, reflect on a common history, and build social inclusion through arts and cultural activity. Last year NSF Consulting was commissioned by Regional Arts Australia to research and prepare a guidelines document to […]

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Apr 15 2019

Evaluating transformation

I’m currently ensconced in report writing for an evaluation project. That is not an uncommon situation to be in, as I work as a program evaluator and consultant. But this project is different; it is more challenging than many, as it poses some big theoretical questions. I am evaluating  Small Town Transformations; an initiative of […]

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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?

Sometimes research and evaluation can be confused or conflated. When commissioning a project it is important to be clear about whether you require research or evaluation. Because, despite them being related and sharing some common approaches, they are different disciplines that result in considerably different outcomes. I have identified five ways in which research and […]

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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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