Evaluation 2017: From Learning to Action

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Understanding and Managing Factors that Affect Evaluation Use and Nonuse

Session Number: 3088
Track: Government Evaluation
Session Type: Panel
Tags: Advocacy and policy change, Evalation Impact, evaluation politics, evaluation use, government evaluation, policymakers, Policymaking
Session Chair: Rakesh Mohan [Director, Office of Performance Evaluations - Idaho State Legislature]
Discussant: Rakesh Mohan [Director, Office of Performance Evaluations - Idaho State Legislature]
Presenter 1: Joe Wholey [Visiting Scholar - University of Delaware]
Presenter 2: George Frederick Grob [President - Center for Public Program Evaluation]
Presenter 3: Katherine Dawes [George Washington University and US EPA]
Time: Nov 08, 2017 (06:15 PM - 07:15 PM)
Room: Roosevelt 2

Abstract 1 Title: Policy Use by the Administration, Congress, and Agencies
Presentation Abstract 1:

Joe will focus on uses of various types of performance information that was used in nine administrations and over nine transitions from Kennedy/Johnson to Obama/Trump. The presentation will show how legislators, executives, managers, and evaluators can overcome factors that hinder the use of evaluation.


Abstract 2 Title: Building a Body of Evidence to Support Policy Makers
Presentation Abstract 2:

It is rare that a single evaluation study is enough to put a policy over the top. By their very nature, policies are decisions that affect large programs over a long time. Policy makers are generally steeped in the programs and policies in their areas of interest and responsibility. They follow relevant issues continuously and are generally aware of research and evaluation studies that are already available on their topics. When the time comes for policy making, they must move fast. Therefore, they will draw on the accumulated body of knowledge that has been lying there, seemingly dormant to the outside observer. An evaluator interested in contributing to policy needs to contribute to that body of knowledge. When the time comes, those evaluations that are relevant will be considered.


Abstract 3 Title: Rolling with the Tides
Presentation Abstract 3:

What do you do when the tides turn on your Evaluation? What if your big, important and rigorous evaluation suddenly stops sailing high and finds all interest in the results have ebbed and the report is now at risk of getting "beached”? And what about that small evaluation that's just been floating along in gentle waters only to be suddenly overtaken by tsunami of interest? How do you keep a steady hand and steer the report through choppy waters to safety? Evaluators often find themselves in unexpected waters due to Political changes in their audience as well as political interests of stakeholders. How do we weather these changes and interests? Are there alternative uses for the results and strategies for maintaining or changing course?


Theme: Learning About Evaluation Use and Users
Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract (150 words): 

Some evaluations generate lots of talk and interest among policymakers, program managers, and stakeholders. Often that interest leads to policy or programmatic changes. This makes evaluators feel satisfied with the outcome because they see the use of their evaluation by intended users. Contrary, despite of their methodological rigor, some evaluations are met with a deafening silence.  Why?  How do we prevent or manage the evaluation process so a lack of response to evaluation only happens rarely if at all?  This highly interactive session will bring together panel members with decades of experience producing evaluations and managing the evaluation process.  Audience members will not only listen to the wisdom of the panelists, but they will also have an opportunity to share their ideas with each other and the panelists.



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Cancellation Policy: Refunds less a $50 fee will be granted for requests received in writing prior to 11:59 PM EDT October 16, 2017. Email cancellation requests to registration@eval.org. Fax request to (202) 367-2173. All refunds are processed after the meeting. After October 16, 2017 all sales are final. For Evaluation 2017, international attendees and presenters who encounter complications due to the international travel environment will have up to 30 days after the event to request a refund and submit appropriate documentation. No administrative fee will apply for the international requests. The $50 fee will be waived for registrants who planned to travel into the US and experienced international travel issues.