Posts filed under ‘General’

New insights on design and evaluation

designI recently attended the International Evaluation Conference of the Australasian Evaluation Society in September 2017 and one of the more interesting sessions I attended was on design and evaluation. This was all about the notion of the design phase of a project or service and how evaluators can be well placed to contribute to this phase. You can learn more in this post by Matt Healey, a speaker at this session.


October 3, 2017 at 8:23 am Leave a comment

New resources: measuring power shifts in favour of women

Evaluating shifts in power in society is very tricky to measure. ActionAid has just released a very comprehensive methodology pack on measuring power shifts in favour of women. Developed with Leitmotiv, it’s based on experiences in  Cambodia, Rwanda and Guatemala. View the resources>>

August 14, 2017 at 9:39 am 1 comment

Advocacy Evaluation Event: 14 June 2017, Washington DC

An evening reception for the launch of Annette Gardner and Claire Brindis’s book: Advocacy and Policy Change Evaluation: Theory and Practice that I mentioned last week.

With a great panel for the event:

ANNETTE L. GARDNER is Assistant Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco.

CLAIRE D. BRINDIS is Professor of Pediatrics and Health Policy and Director of the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco.

DAVID DEVLIN-FOLTZ directs the Aspen Planning and Evaluation Program at the Aspen Institute and serves as the Aspen Institute’s Vice President, Impact Assessment.

JULIA COFFMAN founded the Center for Evaluation Innovation. She has more than 20 years of experience as an evaluator, and now specializes in the evaluation of advocacy, public policy, and systems change efforts.

SUE HOECHSTETTER is the Senior Advisor for Foundation Advocacy and Evaluation at Alliance for Justice and helps amplify citizen’s voices in the policy process.

Further information and registration>>

May 9, 2017 at 12:02 pm Leave a comment

Webinar: Responding to slow-onset crises

For those interesting in emergency response, research and crises, please join me for this webinar on a recent report I co-authored:

Webinar: Responding to slow-onset crises

Organisation: CHS Alliance
Date: 28 March 2017
Time: 9am to 10am UK time

Humanitarian agencies are increasingly responding to slow-onset crises despite facing many challenges according to a newly released report on surge practices for slow-onset crises. Join us for a webinar from the Transforming Surge Capacity Project where one of the report’s authors, Glenn O’Neil will present the key findings of the report and its recommendations for changing surge practices and policies to tackle slow-onset crises.

The webinar will be held on Tuesday 28th March at 9:00-10:00 UK time and can be accessed via the following Zoom link Please email to confirm your attendance.

March 24, 2017 at 1:27 pm Leave a comment

Monitoring and Evaluation in a Complex Organisation

Here is an interesting briefing note from the Danish Refugee Council on “Monitoring and Evaluation in a Complex Organisation”

Monitoring and evaluation can be relatively straightforward processes within simple projects, and there are well established procedures that can be applied. However, as this Evaluation and Learning Brief highlights, M&E systems are much more difficult to design and implement at the level of complex organisations. The key here is to strive for balance between an M&E system with too much rigidity, which suits head offices but allows little room for flexibility at field level, and one with too much flexibility, which may lead to a loss of coherence throughout the organisation.

Read the full note (pdf)>>


May 12, 2016 at 2:28 pm 1 comment

New evaluation for Africa blog

Africa is a continent often the subject of many evaluations but rarely do we hear from evaluators in Africa. Well hopefully that is about to change with the newly launched Evaluation for Africa blog – with contributions from African evaluators – there are already some very interesting posts to read on assumptions in evaluation and thinking evaluatively.

March 1, 2016 at 7:56 pm 1 comment

Measuring the impact of journalism 2

We don’t often read or hear about measuring the impact of journalism,  as I’ve written about previously.

Well, on this topic, here is a very interesting article from Stanford Social Innovation Review that goes quite in-depth on the subject.  They talk about measuring reach, impact, engagement and influence together with providing examples and initiatives underway in this area.

View the article here>>

September 22, 2015 at 9:11 am Leave a comment

What sort of evaluator are you?

From the folks at ImpactReady, a fun quiz to determine what sort of evaluator are you:
Positivist, Constructivist or Transformative?

Take the quiz now!

p.s. I came out as a  Constructivist Evaluator…

June 22, 2015 at 11:57 am 1 comment

Evaluators who blog

The American Evaluation Association’s Tip-a-Day Blog AEA365 recently published a series of blog posts from evaluators who blog  – I’m happy to report that I participated – you can view my post here>>.


January 5, 2014 at 3:55 pm Leave a comment

News from Benchpoint

Benchpoint, which brought together the two authors of this blog, has been very quiet lately. At the end of last year I decided to retire our unique software suite, which has performed magnificently for 12 years or so. The reason was simply that I was approaching retirement age and was loathe to invest a couple of hundred thousand in a re-write to bring the features and performance up to modern day standards.

 So, with many misgivings, I shut down the server, the website and dissolved the company. We never made a bomb, but we had proved something which many doomsayers doubted in 2000 –

  • ·         That the internet would never take off
  • ·         That people would never do internet surveys
  • ·         To create a software suite with real time editable questionnaires and fully analysed results was impossible.

Rubbish, of course, we did it! So, with head held high, it was time to go fishing, as they say.

But Benchpoint was never a software company, it was a survey company. In the time since we developed the survey engine, hundreds of others tried the same thing. Some succeeded, but many failed. I’m proud that some of the results we produced are still being cited in today’s academic articles, like this one from Tom Watson and Fraser Likely (pdf).  Even now, very few software providers can do the results like we could. But a few can, and that’s the key.

Fishing is not much fun when the autumn gales come crashing in. Someone asked me if I could do a survey for them. Why not? I could use one of the available packages, and simply charge my time accordingly. And gradually I found myself thinking, why not re-start the business, working in semi retirement, for chosen customers? The same old Benchpoint expertise. No software to maintain, no Limited company to run, no VAT (hopefully, if we can keep it small).

So I have set up  a simple website, still on

We offer 3 specialisations – employee surveys, membership surveys, and the unique organisation tooI  I developed, “Management Probe”, which analyses the hell out of a company’s DNA and tells you what makes it tick. Or not.

 I am now open for business. With organisations I want to work with. And I will still go fishing, sailing skiing and keep my bees. But not when there’s a project on. That’s a promise.


October 24, 2013 at 9:12 am Leave a comment

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