Sheila B Robinson

Reflections of an everyday educator/program evaluator/professional developer…LEARNER

Happy(Evaluation)Places

Happy (Evaluation) Places is devoted to organizing my favorite evaluation websites that offer both content and resources for evaluation learning and practice.

SITES WITH LINKS TO EVALUATION-RELATED BLOGS:

Blogs are a tremendous source for evaluation learning and serve as excellent supplements to scholarly journals and texts. You can find some of my favorite evaluation and education-related blogs under Additional Inputs on my home page.

Evaluator and Evaluation Blogs

  • This list features American Evaluation Association (AEA) member blogs, along with evaluation organizations, groups, and evaluators on Twitter.

EvalCentral

  • “Eval Central is a dynamic resource that ties together feeds from a large number of evaluation blogs.  It is a blog of blogs.”
  • EvalCentral currently features over 50 evaluation-related blogs.

SITES WITH A BROAD RANGE OF CONTENT AND FREE RESOURCES:

American Evaluation Association

  • “The American Evaluation Association is an international professional association of evaluators devoted to the application and exploration of program evaluation, personnel evaluation, technology, and many other forms of evaluation.”
  • This premiere evaluation association offers both free and members-only content. Free features include a daily blog, aea365 Tip-A-Day By and For Evaluators, a public eLibrary, the EVALTalk listserv, and some free Coffee Break evaluation webinars. Membership is quite reasonable and allows access to evaluation journals and all Coffee Break webinars.

Better Evaluation

  • “An international collaboration to improve evaluation practice and theory by sharing information about options (methods or tools) and approaches.”
  • Loads of free content uniquely organized. You can search for content based on their Rainbow Framework that “organizes 200+ evaluation options into 7 clusters of evaluation tasks” as well as search by evaluation approach.

Betty C. Jung’s Website

  • Huge collection of evaluation links organized into categories – Evaluation 101, Evaluation Guidelines, Evaluation Resources, Evaluation Templates, Logic Model Resources (government and non-government), Logic Model Templates, Public Health Program Evaluation, Evaluation of government programs, US Government Accountability Office, and more.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Office of the Associate Director for Program – Program Evaluation

  • Features the well-known CDC Framework for evaluation and many free guides on each of the steps, as well as additional materials and resources based on the framework.
  • Also features links to step-by-step manuals published by other organizations.

Community Solutions Planning and Evaluation

  • Features free resources on evaluation, needs assessment, program sustainability, and better conference presentations
  • Also features Kylie Hutchinson’s fun and famous Evaluation Christmas Carols

The Community Toolbox

  • “Promoting community health and development by connecting people, ideas and resources.”
  • This site is primarily for community development, but does include evaluation resources. Look at the table of contents and scroll down to Part J: Evaluating Community Programs and Initiatives.

The Evaluation Exchange

  • “The Evaluation Exchange is a periodical that contains new lessons and emerging strategies for evaluating programs and policies, particularly those focused on children, families, and communities.”
  • You can sign up to receive this free periodical featuring brief, easily accessible evaluation-related articles by mail or online.

Evaluation Toolkit for Magnet School Programs

  • Good basic resources for school-based programs, but tools and resources may also inform evaluations of other types of programs.
  • “This web site, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement, offers practical advice and resources informed by research and the experiences of magnet directors and their partner evaluators.”
  • Organized around six areas:
    • Set the stage for purposeful evaluation, Develop a theory of action for your program, Evaluate implementation to document what you are doing, Evaluate outcomes to show your program is making a difference, Get quality data into your evaluator’s hands, Take action in response to evaluation results.

The Free Management Library Basic Guide to Program Evaluation

  • “This document provides guidance toward planning and implementing an evaluation process for for-profit or nonprofit programs…”
  • Online guide to PE features sections on Where PE is helpful, Basic ingredients, Planning PE, Major Types of PE, Overview of methods to collect information, selecting which methods to use, Analyzing and interpreting information, Reporting evaluation results, Who should carry our the evaluation, contents of an evaluation plan, pitfalls to avoid.

Free Resources for Program Evaluation and Social Research Methods

  • “This page lists FREE resources for Program Evaluation and Social Research Methods.  The focus is on “how-to” do program evaluation and social research: surveys, focus groups, sampling, interviews, and other methods.  Most of these links are to resources that can be read over the web.”
  • This is probably the most well-known and comprehensive collection of evaluation resources. It’s well-organized into categories including: Basic guides, organizations, methods, approaches to evaluation, survey methods, sites specifically about sampling, policy analysis, research about research methods, links to link, statistics, design, data issues, free software, presenting results, insights, training, and more.

Innovation Network Point K Learning Center

  • Features workbooks, tip sheets, reports, articles, links, and more. Organized into three main categories: Advocacy evaluation, Capacity building, and Program evaluation.

Learning for Sustainability

  • “This LfS portal is a reference guide for those working to support social learning and collective action around sustainability issues. Annotated links provide direct access to hundreds of key resources internationally.”
  • Though not devoted entirely to evaluation, this site features a wealth of evaluation resources including links to other sites, and downloadable papers and booklets.
  • Look for sections of the site devoted to “Planning, monitoring and evaluation” and “Research methods and approaches.”

Oregon Paint Stewardship Pilot Program

  • This is not a traditional evaluation website, but rather an excellent example of program development and evaluation. Look for an incredibly creative and interactive logic model, excellent examples of evaluation questions mapped to multiple measures, data sources, and audiences, and a free, downloadable evaluation report. The report shows, among other things, how the authors organize information in reader-friendly tables for a somewhat large (12-question; 65+ measures) evaluation study.

The Pell Institute and Pathways to College Network Evaluation Toolkit

  • Features Evaluation 101, Evaluation Guide, and Evaluation Examples

Shaping Outcomes

  • While focused on Outcomes-Based Planning and Evaluation for Libraries and Museums, this website offers easy definitions of terms and examples with a free online course organized into 5 modules: Overview, Plan, Build, Evaluate and Report. It even includes instructor materials for teaching the course on shaping outcomes.
    • “Provides an online curriculum in outcomes-based planning and evaluation (OBPE)
    • Is designed for library and museum professionals as well as students in those fields
    • Teaches the concepts and vocabulary of outcomes-based planning and evaluation (OBPE)
    • Helps participants develop the skills necessary for producing a logic model using OBPE”

University of Wisconsin-Extension Program Development and Evaluation 

  • Click on Evaluation for most of the available resources. “Evaluation is a core function of University of Wisconsin-Extension Cooperative Extension with support provided by the Program Development and Evaluation Unit (PDE).”
  • Free Quick Tips “provide the faculty and staff of Cooperative Extension with easy-to-use, practical suggestions for improving their program development and evaluation practices. They are generally one or two pages in length, free of confusing jargon and based on basic, solid principles of program development and evaluation.  Each suggests sources for further reading for people who are interested in greater detail.”
  • Quick Tips are organized in categories: Plan your evaluation, Collect information, Analyze & interpret information, Communicate results, Improve your evaluation quality, and Retrospective post-then-pre.

Western Michigan University Evaluation Center

  • “The Evaluation Center is committed to advancing the theory, practice, and utilization of evaluation through research, education, service, and leadership.”
  • Home of the free Evaluation Checklists, “to improve the quality and consistency of evaluations and enhance evaluation capacity through the promotion and use of high-quality checklists targeted to specific evaluation tasks and approaches.”

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Knowledge Center Resources

  • Download free guides on Logic Model Development and Foundation Evaluation.

SITES TO BUILD SPECIFIC SKILLS:

Evaluation Glossary

  • This page features the link to download the Evaluation Glossary Mobile App for iPhones and Androids. A must for any evaluator on the go!

Excel for Evaluation at Emery Evaluation

  • Ann K. Emery, a non-profit and Foundations evaluator “created these Excel for Evaluation video tutorials to share my favorite tips, tricks, and techniques with beginner-level and intermediate-level Excel users.”
  • Each 1-4 minute free video tutorial focuses on a specific skill. Categories include: Importing and merging datasets, housekeeping, cleaning and recoding, exploring the data, descriptive statistics, pivot tables, charts and graphs, extras, and putting it all together.

Research Methods Knowledge Base

  • “The Research Methods Knowledge Base is a comprehensive web-based textbook that addresses all of the topics in a typical introductory undergraduate or graduate course in social research methods.  It covers the entire research process including: formulating research questions; sampling (probability and nonprobability); measurement (surveys, scaling, qualitative, unobtrusive); research design (experimental and quasi-experimental); data analysis; and, writing the research paper.  It also addresses the major theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of research including: the idea of validity in research; reliability of measures; and ethics.”
  • Features an extensive Table of Contents.

StatSoft Electronic Statistics Textbook

  • “This Textbook offers training in the understanding and application of statistics and data mining.”
  • “The Electronic Textbook begins with an overview of the relevant elementary (pivotal) concepts and continues with a more in depth exploration of specific areas of statistics, organized by “modules” and accessible by buttons, representing classes of analytic techniques. A glossary of statistical terms and a list of references for further study are included.”

A Working Typology of Evaluation Terms

  • A work in progress by Kylie Hutchinson of Community Solutions Planning and Evaluation
  • Excellent resource for students, evaluation novices, or anyone interested in navigating the universe of evaluation jargon from different contexts. Helps explain the “you say assessment, I say evaluation” or “you say outcomes, I say impacts” phenomenon.
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