Evaluation 2016: Evaluation + Design

View Printable Version

Principles of Practice: Designing evaluation to provide guidance for action in complex times

Session Number: 1245
Track: Use and Influence of Evaluation
Session Type: Panel
Tags: cross-site evaluation, Developmental Evaluation, theories of practice
Session Chair: Hallie Preskill [Managing Director - FSG]
Discussant: Michael Quinn Patton [Founder & Director - Utilization-Focused Evaluation]
Presenter 1: Efrain Gutierrez [Senior Consultant - FSG]
Presenter 2: Kate McKegg [Evaluator - The Kinnect Group]
Presenter 3: Joelle Cook [Associate Director - FSG]
Presentation 3 Additional Author: Hallie Preskill [Managing Director - FSG]
Time: Oct 27, 2016 (04:45 PM - 06:15 PM)
Room: A708

Abstract 1 Title: Principles of Practice for Latino Student Success
Presentation Abstract 1: Efrain will share his experience using principles for effective practice to capture insights from grantees participating in a place-based initiative to increase Latino student success in the US. For the last four years, the thirteen sites participating in the Lumina Latino Student Success (LSS) effort have engaged in place-based collaborative work in support of Latino student success in higher education. As part of the effort’s summative evaluation, Site Directors and partners were engaged in the development of a set of “principles for effective practice”. The principles define the essential ingredients for success in place-based, collaborative work in support of Latino student success in post-secondary education, serve as a way to elevate the voices of grantees and community leaders, and provide an opportunity for other communities to better understand how to effectively engage in collaborative work in support of Latino student success.
Abstract 2 Title: Illuminating contextually grounded value through the use of principles of practice - a New Zealand example
Presentation Abstract 2: The Māori and Pacific Education Initiative was the largest, multi-year initiative ever undertaken by a Foundation in New Zealand. The initiative set out to find innovative solutions to entrenched educational underachievement. Nine projects were funded, all lead by Māori and Pacific communities. A highly participative process was used to reveal and develop what key stakeholders valued and considered success might look like. Combined with existing research on educational success, a set of principles of effective practice for the initiative was generated. This paper will explore and discuss how a developmental evaluation, that took place over 5 years, systematically mapped and synthesised data using evaluative reasoning to the principles of practice, informing ongoing programme and initiative development and adaption as well as providing sufficiently robust data to the Foundation to be able to make an evaluative judgment about the overall value of its investment.
Abstract 3 Title: Principles of Practice in Detroit’s Revitalization
Presentation Abstract 3: Joelle and Hallie will share their experiences using a principles-focused approach to a developmental evaluation of The Kresge Foundation’s investments in Detroit neighborhoods. The presentation will highlight insights related to the relevance, development, and operationalization of a set of principles derived from a variety of data collection methods used in four neighborhoods in Detroit over a period of nine months. In addition, they will share the processes and methods used to test and refine the principles, and discuss how developing principles are particularly appropriate and useful for learning, decision-making, and taking action in complex, dynamic systems change environments when replication and scaling are of interest.
Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract: 

There is an increasing acknowledgement that the complexity and nature of systems change efforts require shifts in evaluation practice. This shift requires that evaluators acknowledge the non-linear, emergent, and dynamic nature of change which is deeply context dependent. At the same time, there is strong demand for evaluations to lift up “best practices,” so that programs and initiatives can be replicated or scaled. The tension inherent in these two views can be mitigated by taking what Michael Quinn Patton and others have coined a “principles-focused” approach; one that “informs choices about which principles are appropriate for what purposes in which contexts, helping to navigate the treacherous terrain of conflicting guidance and competing advice” (Patton, in press). In this session, participants will learn from three presenters and discussant, who will highlight examples that address the challenges, opportunities, and lessons learned in using a principles-focused evaluation approach.


For questions or concerns about your event registration, please contact registration@eval.org or 202-367-1173.

For questions about your account, membership status, or help logging in, please contact info@eval.org.

Cancellation Policy: Refunds less a $50 fee will be granted for requests received in writing prior to 11:59 PM EDT October 3, 2016. Email cancellation requests to registration@eval.org. Fax request to (202) 367-2173. All refunds are processed after the meeting. After October 3, 2016 all sales are final.