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Baltimore Data and Evaluation Meetup

  The Baltimore Data and Evaluation Meetup, recently created by CRC, is a group for people working at nonprofits, foundations, and government agencies who are interested in collecting and using data to improve their programs. Whether you are trying to figure out where to start, wrestling with providing data to funders, figuring out what outcomes you should be measuring, or analyzing and reporting on the data you already collect, this meetup is for you. All levels of expertise are welcome. Participants will discuss the issues they are facing and share ideas and resources in order to practically solve problems. At least one skilled evaluation professional will be present at every session. We are hoping to develop a group where people from different organizations can bring questions about evaluation, share ideas, and...

CRC’s “Dumbphone” User

by Tracy DusablonEach CRC staff person is assigned a month in which to write a blog – this month it was my turn. At first, I was wracking my brain to come up with something instructive, like in my colleague Sarah’s series Secrets from the Data Cave, or hip like Sheila’s post about Data Driven Detroit. Instead, I decided to write about something  that sets me apart from my co-workers, and tell a little story about our office in the process. The other day I was checking office voicemail online (we have an internet phone system) and came across this funny-looking icon. I noted how non-self-explanatory this icon was and, out of curiosity, asked a few co-workers if they knew what it meant. The conversation went a little something like this:Me:...

CRC Takes Detroit

By Sheila MatanoThis past week, Taj and I visited Detroit to meet with Erica Raleigh at Data Driven Detroit (D3) and also took some time to explore the city.Data Driven DetroitD3 is a National Neighborhood Indicators Partner (NNIP) and an affiliate of the Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA). Created in 2008, D3 houses a comprehensive data system that includes current and historic demographic, socioeconomic, educational, environmental, and other indicators. In addition to providing access to high-quality data, D3 also provides services such as data analysis and data visualization to organizations in Detroit.  For example, they created the One D Scorecard to show how Detroit compares to different regions across the United States. (See other examples of D3’s work.) D3 Building  D3's Mission ShinolaFounded in 2011, Shinola is a Detroit-based company that produces watches, bicycles,...

EYEO 2014 RECAP

by Sheila MatanoLast week, I attended the EYEO festival for the first time. EYEO is unique in that it brings together experts from a wide variety of fields (e.g. computer science, engineering, data design, cartography, etc.) to showcase their work.  There were a number of great presentations, and below are some of my favorites. Sarah Williams: DigitalMatatus, Visualizing InformalitySarah Williams is currently an Assistant Professor of Urban Planning and the Director of the Civic Data Design Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s School of Architecture and Planning. The Civic Data Design Lab employs data visualization and mapping techniques to expose and communicate urban patterns and policy issues to broader audiences. In her presentation, Sarah talked about how her team worked with Kenyan Universities and Nairobi’s growing technology sector to collect...

Secrets from the Data Cave, May 2014

by Sarah McCrudenWelcome to CRC’s monthly series of articles on all things techie: Secrets from the Data Cave! (For those who don’t know, the title references our room — fondly referred to as “the bat cave”— where data staff can geek out in an isolated setting.) Here we’ll be offering you a fascinating sneak peek into the cave, with the latest updates & tips on what we’re implementing here at CRC!May 2014:  The Difficult Database, Part 1: The Data Monster            In my experience working with relational databases, I’ve seen it all: the good, the bad, and the very ugly in data-keeping practices.  I’ve learned a lot about wrangling data in an unruly database. While plenty of problems I see are caused by a complicated combination of elements...

Contracting 101: Accounting for People

by Kevin MajorosIt was pretty obvious from an early age that I would be working with numbers for a living as an adult. By the time I was seven, I could memorize the bowling averages, games bowled, and pin count totals of all 60 members of my mother’s bowling league.  Every week I would sit at a table in the bowling alley with the league stats in front of me while frightening women with bouffants walked by with questions like, “Hey kid, what do I need to bowl this week to raise my average to 170?”  My mother bowled in three leagues weekly and I always had the answers for any questions about the numbers.My father was the bartender at the same bowling alley and I was allowed to run around...

Secrets from the Data Cave: April 2014

by Ashley FahertyWelcome to CRC’s monthly series of articles on all things techie: Secrets from the Data Cave! (For those who don’t know, the title references our room — fondly referred to as “the bat cave”— where data staff can geek out in an isolated setting.) Here we’ll be offering you a fascinating sneak peek into the cave, with the latest updates & tips on what we’re implementing here at CRC!April 2014:  Building Online Brochures for DummiesLet’s be frank: print advertising is going the way of the Dodo bird (RIP Mr. Dodo). Pamphlets, flyers, and brochures received in the mail(or in-person from a persistent kiosk salesperson while you’re walking through the mall, just trying to get your coffee fix) typically end up in the recycling bin or in a giant stack on your...

Secrets from the Data Cave: March 2014

by Sarah McCrudenWelcome to CRC’s monthly series of articles on all things techie: Secrets from the Data Cave! (For those who don’t know, the title references our room — fondly referred to as “the bat cave”— where data staff can geek out in an isolated setting.) Here we’ll be offering you a fascinating sneak peek into the cave, with the latest updates & tips on what we’re implementing here at CRC!March 2014: I Am Going to S P A C EEarlier this month, while looking for some new and interesting data visualizations, I came across this nifty website that gives a spatial representation of the distance between planets in our solar system1. After thoroughly enjoying the learning experience (along with the witty interjections, as I patiently scrolled though the empty space...

It’s not another cat video but it’s just as cool – check out the new CRC Website

 The completely revamped Carson Research Consulting web site showcases the talents and experiences of the CRC team as well as the company’s expanded list of services. These offerings go beyond traditional research and evaluation services to include database wrangling and data visualization.   Services are managed and delivered by experienced data and technology nerds, researchers and evaluators. The group’s strong work ethic and resourceful detective skills allow them to collect, organize, analyze and report on the data their clients need to explore, explain and improve their programs. And the new web site showcases the backgrounds, skills and experiences of each team member, including the new chief wellness officer. “The web site,” says Taj Carson, CEO of CRC, “reflects our approachable and highly applicable way of doing evaluations and visualizing data. I am...

Secrets from the Data Cave: February 2014

by Ashley FahertyWelcome to CRC’s monthly series of articles on all things techie: Secrets from the Data Cave! (For those who don’t know, the title references our room — fondly referred to as “the bat cave”— where data staff can geek out in an isolated setting.) Here we’ll be offering you a fascinating sneak peek into the cave, with the latest updates & tips on what we’re implementing here at CRC!February 2014: Predicting Student Achievement to Hire the Best Teacher, FasterThe hiring process in any field can be an arduous task. First, HR has to sift through many (sometimes hundreds, or even thousands) of resumes. Then, they take those that are best qualified and pass them along to the hiring manager. That person has to go through the resumes, as well, and...