Rethinking rigor: Increasing credibility and use

Session Number: 1130
Track: Presidential Strand
Session Type: Think Tank
Tags: credibility and use, Exemplars, rigor
Session Facilitator: Hallie Preskill [Managing Director - FSG]
First Author or Discussion Group Leader: Jewlya Lynn [CEO - Spark Policy Institute]
Time: Nov 13, 2015 (04:30 PM - 05:15 PM)
Room: Plaza A

Audience Level: None

Session Abstract: 

Ask 10 evaluators how they define rigor and you’ll have 10 different answers. Ask 10 users of evaluation what matters to them, and perhaps one or two will mention rigor. Yet, despite its lack of clear definition and prominence, the concept of rigor can help us to design and deploy exemplary evaluations. It is more than the use of experimental methods. It is more than picking the right methods to answer the questions being asked. To serve as a useful concept in our evaluation work, rigor must also guide us to deploy evaluations that are credible and useful, even in the most complex and adaptive settings. Through a series of short presentations on different ways of defining and using rigor and small and large group dialogues, this think tank will develop a new vocabulary around rigor that can serve as a guide for evaluations seeking to ensure credibility and use.