Occupy Valentine’s Day and Genuine Evaluation

It is timely to consider ‘Occupy Valentine’s Day‘, which calls on us to reject the increasingly stereotyped rituals of Valentine’s Day and instead celebrate all forms of love in ways that are affirming, inclusive and uplifting:

Celebrating love is wonderful and romance can be great too. But we don’t need corporations to dictate how we should do it, a mainstream media chastising us for not doing it right or traditional ideas touted over and over by our friends and family.

What does this have to do with Genuine Evaluation?

  • It is based on an evaluation that looks at the overall impact of an intervention, not just whether or not it reached its stated objectives (Red roses delivered? Tick!).
  • It is based on an evaluation that considers the impact of the intervention on different individuals and groups, not just the average impact, or the impact on primary targets – with particular attention to the impacts on those who are marginalized.
  • It encourages everyone to consider what would be locally appropriate theories of action (relevant to the discussion of scaleability and transferability that Fiona Cram is currently leading in the AEA Thought Leaders series).

(The picture was taken at a Minnesota florist recently – the advertisement reads “University research shows flower givers are considered likable, friendly and successful.” Let’s see – vaguely referenced research, self-interest, average effect, no information on possible external validity from sample… Any more?)

Enjoy your seasonal celebrations of love.

Related post: The Friday Funny: Valentine’s Day Memo

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