52 weeks of BetterEvaluation: Week 5: Info overload - how to navigate the maze of methods and approaches

Simon Hearn's picture 29th January 2013 by Simon Hearn

As part of developing the BetterEvaluation site, we ran an "Evaluation Challenge" process, inviting people to submit their biggest challenges in evaluation, and then inviting experts to suggest ways to address these.

This week we present the first challenge, one that is frequently heard from people when they first start learning about the field of evaluation:

How can I cope with the overwhelming number of monitoring and evaluation tools?

To address this and provide some advice for people new to the evaluation field, we recorded a podcast with Dr Ronald Mackay, Honorary Fellow at the Institutional Learning and Change initiative of the CGIAR. Ron is Professor Emeritus (Education) at Concordia University, Canada, and for the past ten years has conducted evaluation work in the private sector in Latin America. 

In the podcast, we discuss the challenge and suggest some practical steps for the novice evaluator using analogies with other types of applied learning. We introduce a simple definition of evaluation, and a number of useful frameworks for breaking the challenge down - including the CIPP model, the BetterEvaluation Rainbow Framework, the Canadian Evaluation Society competencies for evaluation practice and the Joint Committee program evaluation standards.

You can view the 45 minute interview in SlideShare:

Do you have other strategies for making sense of the many different options in evaluation?

Image credit: cruise by Foxtongue, on Flickr

52 Weeks of BetterEvaluation. Click here to view past features

A special thanks to this page's contributors
Research Fellow, Overseas Development Institute.


Cris Sette's picture
Cristina Sette

Ron talks about looking at a complex project with a developmental evaluation eyes. "Developmental Evaluation (DE) is an evaluation approach that can assist social innovators develop social change initiatives in complex or uncertain environments. DE originators liken their approach to the role of research & development in the private sector product development process because it facilitates real-time, or close to real-time, feedback to program staff thus facilitating a continuous development loop." More can be found at http://betterevaluation.org/plan/approach/developmental_evaluation


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