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Evaluation is an Everyday Activity
Program Evaluation Discussions
Updated: 56 min 15 sec ago
Evaluation is political. I am reminded of that fact when I least expect it.
In yesterday’s AEA 365 post, I am reminded that social justice and political activity may be (probably are) linked; are probably sharing many common traits.
In that post the author lists some of the principles she used recently:
- Evaluation is a political activity.
- Knowledge is culturally, socially, and temporally contingent.
- Knowledge should be a resource of and for the people who create, hold, and share it.
- There are multiple ways of knowing (and some ways are privileged over others).
Evaluation is a trans-discipline, drawing from many many other ways of thinking. We know that politics (or anything political) is socially constructed. We know that ‘doing to’ is inadequate because ‘doing with’ and ‘doing as’ are ways of sharing knowledge. (I would strive for ‘doing as’.) We also know that there are multiple ways of knowing.
(See Belenky , Clinchy [with Belenky] , Goldberger , and Tarule, Basic Books, 1986 as one.)
(See: Gilligan , Harvard University Press, 1982; among others.)
How does evaluation, social justice, and politics relate?
What if you do not bring representation of the participant groups to the table?
If they are not asked to be at the table or for their opinion?
What if you do not ask the questions that need to be asked of that group?
To whom ARE your are your questions being addressed?
Is that equitable?
Being equitable is one aspect of social justice. There are others.
Evaluation needs to be equitable.
I will be in Atlanta next week at the American Evaluation Association conference. ‘
Maybe I’ll see you there!
Process is the “how”.
The person who was facilitating the session provided the group with clear guidelines.
The Vision statement, defined as “the desired future condition”, will happen in 2-5 years (i.e., What will change?). We defined the change occurring (i.e., in the environment, the economy, the people). The group also identified what future conditions would be possible. We would write the vision statement so that it would happen within 2-5 years, be practical, be measurable, and be realistic. OK…
And be short…because that is what vision statements are.
The Mission statement (once the Vision statement was written and accepted) defined “HOW” we would get to the vision statement. This reminded me of process–something that is important in evaluation. So I went to my thesaurus to find out what that source said about process. Scriven to the rescue, again.
Scriven, in his Evaluation Thesaurus, defines process as the activity that occurs “…between the input and the output, between the start and finish”. Sounds like “how” to me. Process relates to process evaluation. I suggest you read the section on process evaluation on page 277 in the above mentioned source.
Process evaluation rarely functions as the sole evaluation tool because of weak connections between “output quantity and quality”. Process evaluations will probably not generalize to other situations.
However, PROCESS evaluation “…must be looked at as part of any comprehensive evaluation, not as a substitute for inspection of outcomes…” The factors include “the legality of the process, the morality, the enjoyability, the truth of any claims involved, the implementation…, and whatever clues…” that can be provided.
Describing “how ” something is to be done is not easy. It is not output nor outcome. Process is the HOW something will be accomplished if you have specific inputs . It happens between the inputs and the outputs.
To me, the group needs to read about process evaluation in crafting the mission statement in order to get to the HOW.
Logic Model cartoons.
Data cartoons.More Cartoons
He has offered an alternative to presenting survey data. He has a wonderful cartoon for this.
He is a wonderful resource. Use him. You can contact him through his blog, fresh spectrum.