Putting fun and evaluation in the same sentence

A picture I took in Brazil recently.

Evaluation terminology is enough to make you want to hide your head in the nearest toilet.  And flush.

Program logic models, median, mean, outcomes, indicators, activities, outputs, baseline, denominators, dissemination, focus groups, inductive, deductive and the list goes on (and on and on).

Yet, program evaluation can be incredibly valuable and necessary.

I’m teaching a workshop today called ‘From Bureaucratese to Evaluease: putting fun and evaluation in the same sentence’ at the SPARC Community Development Conference.

Here’s the absolute basics:

  1. know what you want to know
  2. know what Important People want to know (e.g. funders, community members, participants)
  3. do 1 & 2 BEFORE you start asking questions
  4. do 1 & 2 BEFORE you start asking questions

No, that’s not a typo.

I repeated myself because if you don’t know 1 & 2 then I can guarantee you’ll default to asking a bunch of questions and once questions get asked they demand to be answered.  And here’s the kicker – whether you need to know the answers to those questions or whether they’re good questions or not.

So figure it out.  Like toilets.

Want some practice? Figure out what makes for a good toilet.

Seriously, write down 3 indicators for a good toilet.  Three ways you’d judge whether a toilet is good or not.  Then see if this hilarious powerpoint makes the grade.

Because if you know what you want to know then you can more easily judge success (or lack of it).


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2 Responses to “Putting fun and evaluation in the same sentence”

  1. alison fox Says:
    October 20th, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Wow, sometimes you don’t know what you value in a toilet until you see a series of pissing-into-feminine-orifices pots and remember that there are advantages to a neutral, inoffensive environment for relaxing and letting go.

  2. Lee-Anne Ragan Says:
    October 21st, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    ahhh well put Alison- challenge is defining what’s inoffensive

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