Week 41: Celebrating two years since going live!

Patricia Rogers

Two years ago, during the European Evaluation Society conference in Helsinki, the BetterEvaluation.org website went live for public access.  

We had been working with an international group of beta-partners to develop the site before this time.

The BetterEvaluation project grew out of a realisation of the need

  • to connect the various efforts to provide guidance on various evaluation methods and provide ready access to high quality materials
  • to identify where there were gaps in guidance and examples of methods and work to create these
  • to provide a conceptual framework for thinking about evaluation methods that embedded good practices in evaluation design - in particular, working through the purposes and intended uses of evaluation before deciding data collection methods
  • to provide a platform for connecting evaluation practice, research & development, and capacity development.

Now, thanks to the efforts of many individuals and collaborators around the world, the BetterEvaluation site has grown considerably.  

We have an increasing number of pages which have been written by experts, which provide clear overviews of a  method, process, approach or theme, advice and recommended resources.  We have increasing numbers of examples which show evaluation methods and processes in practice.  And we have increasing numbers of resources and other materials in a range of languages.

In addition to the site, there have also been a range of events around the world and virtually, including virtual writeshop cases, a series of webinars, in collaboration with the American Evaluation Association, and short courses and presentations. We have also been working with UNICEF and 3IE to produce a series of briefs and videos on impact evaluation which will be available soon.

The infographic below celebrates what we have achieved together over the past two years. In the coming year, we are looking forward to building on this, including the following:

Expanding the coverage of material in languages other than English

It is important to be able to learn from evaluation in different languages.  BetterEvaluation provides a venue for publication of material in different languages, translation of material into and out of different languages and provides links to events and discussions in different languages.

 The Rainbow Framework  (which outlines the different tasks involved in evaluation, each of which has different methods and processes) is now available in French and Portuguese - with Arabic and German coming soon, and other languages planned.

We have added 'landing pages' in Albanian, French and Portuguese - with Bahasa Indonesia coming soon, and other languages planned.

Addressing complexity in evaluation

Through workshops, documenting practice, and field trials, we will continue to explore ways that evaluation can address the various aspects of complexity in organisations, programs and policies.

Theories of change and logic models

We will explore the different processes that can be used to develop, represent and use theories of change in evaluation, including developing a gallery of diagrams that showcase not only different ways of representing theories of change but also document how they have been used.

Commissioning and managing external evaluations

Working with the International Development Research Centre (Canada), the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Australia), and the MasterCard Foundation, we will be developing and field testing guidance for program managers to plan, commission and manage external evaluations.  This builds on the work previously undertaken with the New South Wales Department of Premier and Cabinet and the NSW Treasury to develop the NSW Evaluation Toolkit.

Non-experimental impact evaluation

While there is now considerable information about how to effectively manage and undertake experimental and non-experimental impact evaluations, there still remains insufficient advice and guidance on how to use non-experimental approaches such as process tracing, qualitative comparative analysis and comparative case studies.  We will build on the development of a guide to Collaborative Outcomes Reporting and document field trials of its use.

Innovations in evaluation

Building on our work with the African Evaluation Association and the 2014 IPDET (International Program for Development Evaluation Training), we will continue to highlight examples of innovation in evaluation and explore how these can be successfully adopted and adapted by other organisations.

If you would like to be part of any of these projects, please be in touch - and subscribe to the newsletter, where we will keep you informed of developments and opportunities to contribute.

And to celebrate our second birthday, check out the infographic - and download your own copies of the Rainbow Framework.