Happy New Year! From everyone on the BetterEvaluation team we hope you’ve had a great start to your year. In our first newsletter for the year, we're sharing some highlights from 2016 and some of our plans for 2017... We'd love to hear yours at the end of the blog so please drop us a line or leave a comment down the bottom!
1. Increased membership from a wide range of countries, sectors and roles
In 2016, we reached 5,175 BetterEvaluation members, based in over 167 countries.
In October 2015, we started asking you to give us some more detailed information when you sign up. Since then, we've had 1,413 members join and looking at this sample it's great to see a wide spread of sectors and roles represented within our membership base.
If you joined before then, or your details have changed, why not log into your page and update your details so we can do a better job of providing relevant content. To do this, click log in in the top right of the screen, click your name in the top right to go to your profile page, and then click edit. Here's how:
Sectors of recently joined BetterEvaluation members
Members have a range of roles to do with monitoring and evaluation, with many of them having more than one role:
In 2017, we're going to work on developing content that are particularly appropriate for different roles, sectors and languages.
2. Additional member contributions
The strength of BetterEvaluation lies in the collective efforts of members and other contributors. In 2016, members created and shared a range of useful content:
BetterEvaluation provided a platform for blogs from the core team and guest posts from members. These included: personal experiences that highlighted unique approaches for dealing with tricky problems in conducting evaluations (Rosemary Cairn’s blog on using maps to get stakeholders to articulate a program theory), exploration of important themes or issues in evaluation (What do we mean by ‘impact’? and The need for sustained and emerging impact evaluations), and lessons learnt from projects and practice (Lessons on turning evidence into action from the Transfer Project).
Having personal recommendations for particular resources makes it more likely you can find something that will be relevant to your needs. In August 2015, we started trialling a new format for our resource pages that included more descriptive information from the contributor about how they used the resource and who they thought would find it useful. In 2016, our members contributed over 30 resources using this new format. You can see some of the latest ones in New Material, or browse through our past newsletters for some past highlights. If you have other resources you'd like to share, you can do this through our Contribute Content page.
Toolbox pages - tasks, options, thematic pages and evaluation approaches
We're also excited to have worked with BE members on improving and adding new content on the BetterEvaluation site. We made revisions and additions to pages that relate to the Rainbow Framework of evaluation tasks and options. We also worked on developing new thematic pages and evaluation approach pages. Thematic pages can cover:
- evaluations in particular sectors (for example, agricultural research; peacekeeping;water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)),
- evaluations of particular types of interventions (for example, capacity strengthening, policy advocacy);
- particular types of evaluation (for example, impact evaluation, needs analysis);
- cross-cutting issues in evaluation (for example, gender-sensitive evaluation).
Evaluation approach pages refer to an integrated set of options used to do some or all of the tasks involved in evaluation, from framing questions, collecting and analysing data to reporting data (for example, Randomised Controlled Trials, Outcome Mapping).
In particular, we'd like to thank Donna Podems and Svetlana Negroustoueva for their work in creating the new Feminist Evaluation theme page.
In 2017, we'll be adding more pages, including three more pages that are on their way to being made live on the site: Sustained and Emerging Impact Evaluation, Using Technology for Evaluation in Fragile States, and QUIP (Qualitative Impact evaluation Protocol).
3. New partnerships and opportunities
In August 2016, the BetterEvaluation core team, made up of BetterEvaluation’s Director, Patricia Rogers, Deputy Director, Greet Peersman, and Website Coordinator, Alice Macfarlan, moved from RMIT University to The Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) to form part of ANZSOG’s newly established Evidence and Evaluation Hub.
While it has been a small relocation for the core team (about 500 metres north of our former offices), it's an important step in the evolution of BetterEvaluation. We look forward to creating closer connections with ANZSOG’s network of experts from around the world, drawing on ANZSOG’s expertise in public sector and evidence-based policy, and contributing to the important discussion about the place of evaluation in public policy. You can find out more about ANZSOG’s Evidence and Evaluation Hub here, and we’ll be sharing some updates about what we’ve been up to at ANZSOG in the coming weeks.
We continue to have a global focus and to work together with a wide variety of partners from around the world to improve knowledge and practice in monitoring and evaluation.
4. Increased reach
1,204,318 site sessions in 2016 (up 30% from 2015 and hitting its peak in April, with 119,636 sessions!).
7,547 Twitter followers (5,844 tweet engagements and 365,700 tweet impressions)
2,674 Facebook likes. Total reach: 48682
We launched the BetterEvaluation LinkedIn page late last year and while it's still growing, we're chuffed that we've had such a positive response to it so far. Head on over to the LinkedIn page and click 'follow' to connect with the BetterEvaluation LinkedIn Network.
29 followers. 8 posts. Total impressions: 2604
5. Knowledge products: The Managers’ Guide and GeneraTOR
On a personal level, we’re probably most proud of releasing the Managers’ Guide and the interactive Terms of Reference ‘GeneraTOR’, funded by Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC). The Guide and GeneraTOR are the culmination of two years of collaborative work with IDRC and others and fills an important gap in evaluation guidance in that it focuses on the information that a manager or commissioner needs to know in order to effectively plan, manage and use high-quality evaluations. You can read more about its development and how to use the Guide and GeneraTOR here, or jump straight to the Guide at BetterEvaluation.org/Managers-Guide in English or Français.
We’ll be seeking feedback in 2017 from people who have used this resource, so if you’ve already had a look through the Guide or used the GeneraTOR and have some thoughts you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you!
Our goals for 2017
What do we want to do this year?
We are looking for ways to increase engagement with the site, so that it continues to function as a living, evolving platform for sharing evaluation knowledge rather than a static source of information.
This includes working towards improving some of the site's content and usability, including revising the Rainbow Framework - we'll be seeking your suggestions on this in the coming months.
We're looking for new ways to collaborate with organisations and evaluation communities, as well as with individuals, and will continue to build on existing relationships.
Make a BetterEvaluation New Year's Resolution?
We know New Year's Day has passed, but there's still time to add another goal to your 2017 list. We'd like to suggest that you make a goal to contribute to BetterEvaluation. Make a pact with yourself to share a resource, write a guest blog, suggest an improvement on the site, or talk to us about other ways to get involved.