In October 2015, a LinkedIn message I posted on AEA group resulted in a flow of personal emails, lively online discussion, and even a paragraph in someone’s doctoral dissertation. My question “what is your #1 challenge as an internal evaluator?” must have struck a chord with many evaluators. In this years American Evaluation Association Conference I hope to present on what I heard, specifically related to challenges of evaluation design and effectively linking it to program design. I offer some suggestions, and invite the audience to think about additional important questions. In particular, I will focus on three questions:
- Given the emergent nature of program design, evaluators and program designers need to work effectively with each other. But does anyone actually know how to do this? Is saying “we should involve evaluation early” enough?
- Is it really possible to balance quality of the evaluation design, with its usefulness, flexibility, and availably of tools and resources?
- How can an evaluator remain unbiased towards the design when some stakeholders insert pressures and want evaluation to demonstrate or hide certain things?
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