World Vision (go to www.WVI.org) is a global Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. It is a large complex organization that has produced many tools for facilitating, monitoring and evaluating Transformational Development. Full disclosure: from 1985-2011 I worked as an evaluator in WVI, and was involved at different levels in developing some of the tools in their early versions.
I recommend that you explore the large number of resources that World Vision has made available to anyone involved in some way with community development intended to create opportunities for individual and social transformation as revealed in scripture. Go to http://www.wvi.org/development-programmes
I will highlight some resources from a TE perspective in other posts.
Robert J. Gula, Nonsense: Red Herrings, Straw Men and Sacred Cows: How We Abuse Logic in Our Everyday Language, Axios Press, 2007.
The author intended to write a “timeless handbook of verbal logic.” Using everyday language and examples, he succeeded. Spending a few minutes twice a week reading and thinking about a specific logical error has improved my writing and my ability to identify nonsense quickly in news stories. I recommend this inexpensive but valuable paperback.
Evaluation topics are discussed on many websites. These six sites currently nourish my ongoing learning about program evaluation.
Jane Davidson: http://RealEvaluation.com … Excellent resource for evaluation focused on answering the critical big-picture values questions
Jane Davidson and Patricia Rogers: http://GenuineEvaluation.com … Critical review of all types of evaluation from the perspective of Real and Practical Evaluation
http://BetterEvaluation.org … Excellent international collaboration to improve program evaluation; see Rainbow Framework of seven clusters of evaluation tasks
Jess Dart: http://www.clearhorizon.com.au … Clear Horizon is a group of enthusiastic, passionate, professionals delivering monitoring, evaluation, and planning with a strong focus on participatory approaches and facilitation
Rick Davies: http://mande.co.uk … Monitoring and evaluation news; Since 1997 the focus of this website is on methods of monitoring and evaluating the progress and outcomes of development aid programs, big and small
John Gargani: http://EvalBlog.com … Provocative discussions on various program design and evaluation topics
Actionable evaluation emphasizes sound reasoning about the significance of valid reliable evidence for answering keystone evaluation questions about how well something was done against various sets of standards, what practical difference outcomes made in the lives of people the program intended to reach, would another approach have been more effective, etc. It is not a new method; it is a perspective that focuses on answering the critical value questions more than organizing a mass of relatively trivial information.
Actionable Evaluator E. Jane Davidson challenges common views on stakeholder engagement, common misplaced emphasis on measurable indicators, and the need for a long list of specific recommendations in a report. As I understand it, in actionable evaluation the most important task is to provide sound big-picture information about the degree to which the evaluand makes positive or negative differences in practical important areas of living; information that can be acted on to improve the situation addressed by the evaluand.
I believe every evaluator of transformational development will benefit from learning about actionable evaluation. I will be posting implications as I learn more. Start with these resources:
Actionable Evaluation Basics, (2013), E. Jane Davidson, available at Amazon.com.
Genuine Evaluation blog at http://GenuineEvaluation.com.