We believe evaluation is key to making a positive difference in the world. Because of this, we are committed to our own, ongoing research about how to do good evaluation and how to support organizations to learn from, and use, the evaluations they do.
We are building a program of research around improving the quality and value of evaluation for mission-driven organizations. Here are a few examples.
Are visual data reports really more effective in influencing attitudes towards social programs? In this study we ran an experiment to test (1) whether evaluation reports actually shape readers attitudes towards social programs, (2) the role that confirmation bias–i.e., the tendency for readers’ prior attitudes to shape their reactions to new information–plays in peoples’ reactions to evaluation reports, and (3) to find out whether visual data reports are actually more influential. You can read a summary of our findings here.
Valuing evaluation: How do we best promote evaluation so people see its value? In this study we are running an experiment to test whether different ways of promoting evaluation can influence peoples’ perceptions of its value–and their willingness to allocate money to fund it. This study is the follow on to an earlier project that focused on how evaluators describe their work to others. You can read more about that study here.
Practice makes better? This study piloted a new way to train evaluators. Research on expertise says that people become experts through practice and feedback. Using the online training portal EvalPractice this study tested a model for training evaluators using repeated practice in evaluation-related, and feedback on performance.