Actionable Evaluation Basics: Getting succinct answers to the most important questions [minibook]
Readers have commented elsewhere:
"Actionable and Accessible! An avid reader of anything Dr Jane Davidson writes - she lives up to her Genuine Evaluation reputation by providing a succinct guide that is also accessible in its format and price for those working in evaluation in international development contexts. kind of like being able to download your favorite song and not have to buy the whole DVD. I will use this more than those great, but big books that end up sitting on my shelf. She has set the bar for others to follow!"
"Wow - I'm not sure what I was expecting from such a small resource but it's definitely good value. Well written, succinct and useful... I highly recommend this resource to all evaluators and look forward to more e-books from Jane."
"Value WAY beyond the price. Definitely worth it... great perspective from one of my favorite evaluators. A master at the "right" questions that help you make useful decisions."
"What a great resource - I highly recommend it to new evaluators as well as those of us who have been around a while. This mini ebook models the ideas that Jane is promoting - gets to the point, provides the key information, and does it powerfully and economically. It's often harder to write a pithy, 'simple' document like this, that distils what you need to know, than a detailed tome - and far more useful."
"A great read for people who want to do evaluation or commission evaluation that is actually useful. If you have been unhappy with your experience of evaluation and wondering how it could be better, get this book."
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This easy-to-read, informative minibook provides a practical overview of 6 elements essential for actionable evaluation (of policies, programs, projects, change initiatives, services, etc.), as covered in Dr. Jane Davidson’s popular workshops on Actionable Evaluation.
(a) is clearly relevant to decisions and actions;
(b) goes right to the heart of what is really important, doesn't get lost in the details;
(c) favors approximate answers to important questions over 4 decimal places on trivia;
(d) resists being lured into a focus on what's most easily measured;
(e) presents findings in a way that is simple, but not simplistic;
(f) is useful — at both strategic and practical (or operational) levels;
(g) influences and clarifies thinking, action, and decision-making; and
(h) gives insights that help people figure out what actions to take.
The six key elements are:
(1) a clear purpose for the evaluation;
(2) the right stakeholder engagement strategy;
(3) important, big picture evaluation questions to guide the whole evaluation;
(4) well-reasoned answers to the big picture questions;
(5) succinct, straight to the point reporting that doesn't get lost in the details; and
(6) answers and insights that are actionable, that we can do something with.
Dr. E. Jane Davidson is internationally recognized for applying critical thinking and evaluative reasoning to evaluation, policy, strategy, and program design. She is author of Evaluation Methodology Basics: The Nuts and Bolts of Sound Evaluation (Sage, 2005), which has sold well in the U.S. and internationally as a graduate text and evaluation practitioners’ guidebook.
Jane brings a distinctively multidisciplinary and refreshingly practical, plain language approach to her work, which spans education, health, social policy, leadership development, and many other areas.
She blogs alongside Professor Patricia J. Rogers on the entertaining and popular Genuine Evaluation blog.
Since winning the American Evaluation Association’s Marcia Guttentag Award in 2005, Jane has delivered keynote addresses and professional development workshops around the world, in the U.S., the U.K., Brazil, Japan, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.
- E. Jane Davidson, October 2012
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