What I Wish I Had Known in My Beginner Evaluator Days

April 1, 2012 at 8:24 pm 1 comment

An excellent post from Priya Small on the AEA365 blog where she describes what she wish she’d known in her beginner evaluation days. Some of the points she highlights are:

– Listen more, speak less
– Observe more, take less notes
– Compete less and cooperate more – Team work has great potential to produce optimal outcomes

From my experience as an evaluator, I would add the following:

– the process is important as the report: I realised later in the day…the actual act of undertaking an evaluation can have a significant influence on the concerned organisation and its stakeholders – so you should be aware of this and not only focus on the “end product” –  usually the final written report.

– evaluation is scary for some: yes, simple as it seems,  when the evaluation team arrives it can be misperceived as being the creators or bearers of bad news – job/project/budget cuts – so it helps that evaluators are able to explain well the purpose of their work.

– evaluators need to be guided but not too guided: Organisations employing evaluation teams want an independent evaluation – then again, they often want to mold the evaluation process in their own views – interview these persons, see these documents, etc. I learnt that evaluators sometimes have to be insistent in designing the evaluation to get the best results. I heard a good suggestion recently where an evaluation team insisted that a follow-up process be included in the evaluation planning.

There are certainly more lessons learnt about data collection, budgets, deadlines and reports – but I leave that for next time…!

Entry filed under: Evaluation methodology. Tags: , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Karen Anderson  |  May 11, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    As a new(ish) evaluator I really enjoy the interactions with various stakeholders, not just for the report but building a genuine, meaningful relationship along the way. I hope this excitement and interest in the evaluation stakeholders never fades for me!


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