Update August 2012

Simon Hearn

This is an update for our early site users on what's been going on in August. The website is still under development but we are now undertaking a series of tests in anticipation of going live.

We've previously sent updates by email but will be using this blog from now on. Please do check back here frequently as we'll be posting regular updates about the project and progress with the site.

In this update:

  • New content on evaluating organizations
  • Updated front page
  • New 'Start Here' section
  • Terminology changes
  • BetterEvaluation at AES2012

1) Evaluating Organizational Performance

Katrina Rojas and colleagues at Universalia have contributed a new Theme page on evaluating organizational performance, one of their key specialisms. Here is the introduction but you can read the full article here.

An organizational assessment is a systematic process for obtaining valid information about the performance of an organization and the factors that affect performance.  It differs from other types of evaluations because the assessment focuses on the organization as the primary unit of analysis. 

Organizations are constantly trying to adapt, survive, perform and influence. However, they are not always successful. To better understand what they can or should change to improve their ability to perform, organizations can conduct organizational assessments.  This diagnostic tool can help organizations obtain useful data on their performance, identify important factors that aid or impede their achievement of results, and situate themselves with respect to competitors. Interestingly, the demand for such evaluations is gaining ground. Donors are increasingly trying to deepen their understanding of the performance of organizations which they fund (e.g., government ministries, International Financial Institutions and other multilateral organizations, NGOs, as well as research institutions) not only to determine the contributions of these organizations to development results, but also to better grasp the capacities these organizations have in place to support the achievement of results. 

2) Updated front page

You'll notice a few changes to our front page, including a new carousel of featured content and an interactive tool for navigating the BetterEvaluation framework. Let us know what you think about the front page by writing your comments below.

3) New 'Start Here' section

If you are new to the site then Start Here should be your first port of call. It will introduce you to what the website offers and will explain how to use the various features. You can also get some background information about the project. Sections include:

What is BetterEvaluation?

What is the BetterEvaluation Framework?

How can I use BetterEvaluation?

Why should I join BetterEvaluation?

4) Terminology changes

We've had some feedback about the terminology we are using on the website to help categorize content and help users find what they are looking for. Previously we were using the term 'method' to describe the range of tools, activities and strategies that can be used for a particular evaluation task. 'Method' was seen as too limiting and misrepresentative of this collection so we have decided to change this to 'Option' across the site. We'd be very interested to hear what you think about this change - leave your comments below.

5) BetterEvaluation at AES 2012

Patricia Rogers led a session on BetterEvaluation at the Australasian Evaluation Society this week. The session attracted nearly 100 people and introduced the BetterEvaluation framework and tasked the participants to use it to choose a combination of options for a given scenario. We'll be posting some resources soon.