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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Feb 9 2016

Low carbohydrate? Or poor performance indicators?

I recently purchased a loaf of ‘low carbohydrate’ bread (see image). Now, looking at this loaf, I think you will agree there is no denying that this loaf would be lower in carbohydrates than other loaves. But that is possibly because it has a great big hole in it. I’m only kidding, of course, but […]

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Jan 21 2016

Numbers or words? The qualitative vs quantitative debate

Over the past 20 years or so, a debate over the relative virtues of quantitative and qualitative methodology has gained considerable momentum. In the field of social research and evaluation, quantitative research has been considered as the more ‘traditional’ approach to addressing a research question. Decades ago, researchers advocating for the use of qualitative methods […]

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Nov 6 2015

How good is good?

The practice of evaluation involves arriving at succinct answers to important questions. This is also known as evaluative reasoning. Evaluative reasoning is what distinguishes from research. Evaluations involve  conducting research, but they go further, to determine merit of worth, with the aim of making evaluative conclusions. To evaluate is to make deductive arguments and claims […]

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Oct 26 2015

Gathering dust or momentum? 6 ways to ensure your commissioned report is adopted

  Have you commissioned an evaluation or a piece of research that resulted in a report sitting unused? Anecdotal evidence suggests that more than half of evaluation results go unused. There are a number of aspects of evaluation reporting that can affect how information is used. The study purpose, stakeholder needs and target audience should […]

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Sep 23 2015

Goal-free evaluation. What is it and why is it important?

  Evaluation is a relatively young discipline, growing in theory and practice. There are many theories and approaches to evaluation practice, but fundamentally, the disciplines involves determining the merit, worth and value of things. Unlike pure social research, the practice of evaluation is about making a judgement on the worth of something. One of the […]

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Sep 5 2015

Actionable Evaluation – 6 elements

Have you seen evaluation reports that may be technically adequate and accurate, yet are almost impossible to decipher? They may have been full of detailed charts, tables, statistics, and qualitative research findings, yet they seemed to make no sense and it was difficult to understand their purpose. According to internationally recognised evaluation specialist, E. Jane […]

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Jun 29 2015

Sticking your neck out- choosing focus groups or individual interviews

Qualitative research provides researchers and evaluators with detailed information about attitudes, views, behaviour and preferences. Two common qualitative research techniques are focus groups (group discussions) and one-on-one interviews (also called in-depth interviews). The interactive nature of both of these approaches means that their success is dependent on the skills of the interviewer or moderator. There […]

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