As with any field of endeavour, evaluation practice needs to be informed by, and contribute to, theory and research. However it can be difficult to find sources of funding and support for research into evaluation.
Here are two current funding opportunities to support research on evaluation, and some links to other resources and examples of research on evaluation.
Do you have suggestions about others we should add?
Research on evaluation in South Africa
SAMEA (South African Monitoring and Evaluation Association), in partnership with CREST (Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology) at Stellenbosch University and CLEAR-AA (Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results in Anglophone Africa) at the University of the Witwatersrand is offering research grants as part of a multi-year program to strengthen the country evaluation system.
African researchers (living and working in Africa) who are doing research on evaluation in South Africa are eligible to apply to conduct research on the following topics:
- The current state of South Africa’s evaluation system
- Evaluation utilisation
- Profiling evaluators and the commissioners of evaluations
- Reviewing the evaluation architecture in SA, with specific reference to ethics, standards and competencies
- Identifying examples of good practice in evaluation communities of practice (or professional learning communities).
Closing date: 30 September 2016. But don’t let the looming closing date deter you- proposals should be short and succinct.
Funding available: ZAR 40,000
Information supplied by Dugan Fraser, Co-Deputy Chair of SAMEA and Programme Director at the RAITH Foundation.
The Faster Forward Fund (3F)
3F, created through the generosity of Michael Scriven, is a 501(c)(3) organization managed by the Marin Community Foundation. The fund aims to generate the development of new perspectives on and applications of evaluation, with some preference to ‘out of the box’ or ‘long shot’ projects and proposals that are likely to find funding hard to get from the usual sources because of their departure from the current research paradigms and/or their relatively low chances of success.
Some ideas that illustrate the possible topical range of a 3F project:
- examining the evaluative assumptions and methodology used by historians of warfare and warfare technology in supporting evaluative judgments;
- the scope and limitations of ‘big data’ methodology for social policy analysis;
- supporting work by a small international specialist online group focusing on specific technical problems in intercultural cooperation and evaluative comparisons;
- the application of game theory (or positive psychology; or addiction theory) to the ethics of suicide prevention;
- the quality of a sample of evaluations done by a state’s legislative analysts (or by a federal inspector-general’s office; or by the World Bank); i.e. meta-evaluation;
- the utility in certain circumstances of what might be called ‘televal’ by analogy with the now highly active field of telemedicine, e.g., to bring technical or management skills from highly experienced evaluators to Nepal or Namibia or the Northern Sioux;
- developing new curricula and pedagogy for teaching evaluation methodology in the K-16 realm (or in the professional development area);
- the validity of quality-adjusted life years (QALYS) as the emerging key metric for national/international social (or medical) interventions, or an analogical problem in educational research;
- simplified public access/participatory (P.A.P.) evaluation systems such as Emily’s List, Amazon reviews, JD Powers, US News & World Report (see Foci list below).
In addition, a new $1,000 “Special Focus Award” is available for 1,500 word essays on each of the following topics:
- Ethics & Scientific Method
- Peter Singer Prize - best design for the evaluation of at least three charity watchdog organizations; e.g., Charity Navigator.
- Meta-evaluation Checklists - best critique of available meta-evaluation checklists, including at least those by Dan Stufflebeam, GAO, and Michael Scriven.
- Meta-evaluation of Mainstream Science
- Future Topic Ideas - Suggest and support a special focus 3F topic or topics for 2017.
Closing date: 15 November 2016.
Funding available: Individual grants are likely to be less than $USD10,000.