At the recent conference of the Australasian Evaluation Society, Tom Schwandt gave an entertaining and thought-provoking keynote in which he talked about a societal phenomenon called ‘phronemophobia’. [Tom assured us this really was an existing word in the English language and not something he made up!]
Phronemophobia is the fear of thinking, which Tom
Read the whole post –> Who’s afraid of the Big Bad … Thought?
I’m not sure I can come up with a ‘Copernican’ revolution of the scale Michael Scriven described in his previous post, but perhaps I can run an idea up the flagpole that has came as a realization or light-bulb moment for me and still seems to surprise and sometimes amaze other people I talk to and work with … There is a long-held belief that evaluations that draw explicitly evaluative conclusions are somehow diametrically opposed to or completely incompatible with culturally responsive evaluations that fully reflect and respect the cultural values and worldviews of indigenous peoples and others whose voices are often not heard.
Read the whole post –> Rethinking evaluation: Explicitly evaluative and culturally inclusive approaches
Languaging (finding ways for difficult or complex ideas to make sense in different contexts) is a very important issue for getting people to buy into (and take action based on) evaluation findings, particularly when some aspect of a program is not doing well. Positive languaging can be highly effective for getting stakeholders to buy into not-so-positive findings. However, we do need to be wary of defaulting to positive, ‘comfort zone’ language all the time….
Read the whole post –> Languaging in evaluation – raising fewer hackles vs. clarity of message
As evaluators we all have to struggle, on the one hand, with having at least some sense of what evidence should constitute “good performance” (for a program, policy, or whatever we are evaluating) … but on the other hand, with being sufficiently open-minded about examples of good – perhaps outstanding – performance that we hadn’t imagined ahead of time and that clearly don’t fit with the program designer’s or funder’s plan. On that topic, this urban legend, plucked from mathematical finance academic Mark Joshi’s academic jokes page, “courtesy of Kevin Lim (15/01/04)”, tickled our funny bones and seemed an apt reflection for this week …
Read the whole post –> The Friday Funny: “Right Answers”
A salutary reminder that just because things are measured precisely (such as money) doesn’t mean that the measurements are valid or useful. As reported by Louise Story, Landon Thomas Jr and Nelson D. Schwartz, in the New York Times on 13 Feb 2010 :
As in the American subprime crisis and the implosion of
Read the whole post –> What you measure and how you measure it – the Greek financial example