Inciter | Evaluation
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“Can I Have a Moment of Your Time?” Overcoming Survey Burn Out by Showing Value

“Please be sure to go to the website on the bottom of the receipt to fill out our survey!”  If you’ve ever gone grocery shopping, eaten fast food, or shopped at a major retailer, you’ve heard these words spoken by a cashier at some point. In the age of big data, seemingly no venue is immune from solicitations to take a survey of some sort, be it online or in-person.  With this oversaturation of survey propositions, the question for the consumer then becomes: what’s the value of actually completing this survey – is it really worth my time? And as evaluators faced with this situation, in which our potential survey respondents are already feeling burnt out (and even more so if they’re part of an over-researched community) the question is...

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AEA 2014 Recap

by Mandolin Singleton Last month I attended the 2014 American Evaluation Association conference in Denver, CO. 2014's conference theme was “Visionary Evaluation for a Sustainable, Equitable Future.” The event brought together research and evaluation professionals from all over the globe and from a variety of disciplines (e.g., community psychology, health and human services, PreK-12 educational evaluation). Attendees were encouraged to explore ways in which evaluation could be used to support sustainability and equality across disciplines and sectors.  This year’s conference was especially exciting (as well as nerve-wrecking) for me because I was attending as a first time conference presenter. I went to numerous sessions, learned a lot, and had a great time connecting with other evaluators. (I even found a little bit of time to explore Denver’s spectacular shopping scene). Below are...

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Our Valentines: Why we love evaluation at CRC

compiled by Sheila MatanoEarlier this year, the American Evaluation Association released a statement describing what evaluation is and its value to evaluators and the public at-large. There are many different types of evaluation and the time it takes to complete an evaluation project can vary from a few weeks to several years. Amidst a flurry of projects, debacles, deadlines and what seems to be a long and arduous winter, the CRC team took some time this week to decompress and reflect on what we love about our work. As evaluators, we sometimes get bogged down by minutiae and forget the value of the work that we do! Taking a step back to reflect on our work and experiences encourages insight, learning, and fosters growth.So in honor of Valentine’s week, we want to share why we...

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Reducing the Price of Hospital Readmission

by Tracy DusablonThe Hospital Readmission Reduction Program is part of the Affordable Care Act, which has ignited heated debates both for and against the program. The program aims to improve quality of care and lower costs by reducing hospital readmissions for Medicare patients. To accomplish this, hospitals are essentially ‘dinged’ when patients are readmitted within 30 days of discharge, and these ‘dings’ turn into financial penalties for the hospitals. As it currently stands, the penalty is one percent of hospital payments, and is set to increase to three percent by 2015.So, how are hospitals dealing with this new policy, which took effect in October 2012? To some extent, they may just be accepting the penalties, chalking it up to the expense of doing business. On a more constructive end, some...

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Guest Blog: Moneyball & adapting to a data driven world

 by Meridith PolinThe role of the evaluator is much like that of Peter Brand in the  movie Moneyball (based on the book by Michael Lewis, a favorite author of mine). Peter Brand’s role as an economics whiz kid—   hired by the Oakland A’s— was to help them figure out how to win. Using meaningful statistics, Peter and the General Manager Billy Beane, helped turn the game of baseball on its head by looking at data in a new way. Similarly, evaluators are charged with  identifying and measuring the ‘bottom line’ of non-profit services from a social impact perspective. We have seen an explosion of businesses and non-profits talk about the use of data (like they do in Moneyball).But before anyone thinks about the analysis of data,   we (as...

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Looking back and looking forward

Carson Research has had an exciting and productive 2012, and we're thankful for our clients, friends, families, and evaluation colleagues, who were an integral part of our successes this year![caption id="attachment_159" align="aligncenter" width="300"] The CRC Team, 2012[/caption]Of all the developments that have taken place, one of the most noticeable is the growth of our team, and the diversification of our skill set that has come along with our new team members.Looking towards the New Year, we'd like to share how each CRC staffer chose to complete the following statement: Next year, I plan to enhance my evaluation skills by...

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A Look Back at AEA 2012

It's already the end of November, and we’re entering that time of year when people are inclined to look back and reflect on the events of the previous months. At CRC we are not quite ready to reminisce about all of 2012 just yet, but before November ends we do want to revisit an important event for us that occurred a few weeks ago. At the end of October, some of the CRC staff flew out to Minneapolis to attend the American Evaluation Association conference (and to see our first snowfall of the season!).If you follow CRC on twitter and/or facebook*, you already know that CRC was busy at this year’s AEA! Leslie and Taj (on behalf of Jenn, too pregnant to fly) presented Using an Adaptive Research Design in...

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Nonprofit Organizations and Outcome Measurement

by Sheila MatanoAn article by Lehn Benjamin in the September 2012 issue of the American Journal of Evaluation explored the extent to which existing outcome measurement frameworks are aligned with the actual activities performed by nonprofit staff to ensure positive outcomes for their clients.Benjamin’s analysis of numerous measurement guides revealed that existing outcome measurement frameworks focus primarily on program activities completed and the changes in the users as a result of those program activities. This highlights, rather overwhelmingly, that outcome measurement often misses important aspects of staff work, namely the direct activities they do with clients. It is this frontline work that is essential for helping staff build relationships in their communities that are paramount to positive program outcomes. Unfortunately in many cases this does not fully capture the work...

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Evaluation Use

Use of an evaluation’s findings (i.e., lessons learned) and process use (i.e., evaluation use that takes place before lessons learned are generated and feedback initiated) are two of the clearest, simplest examples of the uses for evaluations. (Fleischer and Christie (2009) offer other examples, but recognizing they don’t have clear definitions, they won’t be discussed here.) By now there is much agreement that there is a great deal of useful information generated during the evaluation process itself, information that could increase involvement and learning.Instituting practices that foster involvement in the evaluation process will lead to increased evaluation use, right? This idea seems to be common sense, but why is it that common sense concepts are often hard to implement or forgotten all together?I’d offer that often common sense ideas sound...

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Social Media and Evaluation

I must admit I’m excited about today’s post. Not because it gives us an excuse to indulge ourselves in a lot of unfocused social media (e.g. facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter) fun, but because of the opportunities and uses these tools can provide program evaluators. Not only have these platforms have provided us, as evaluators, with greater ease in gleaning resources (such as through the American Evaluation Association’s facebook page) and communicating with clients and colleagues (via Twitter and our local evaluators’ LinkedIn group), but we’ve begun to see programs’ use of these platforms as an important piece of their evaluation “stories”.Social media allows for connections that are rapid and have the potential for wide dissemination. It isn’t easy to envision programs advertising their services through social media, but it is...

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