MERL Mixology – What, When, and How to Mix Methods and Approaches in the Land of MERL
Session Number: 2826
Track: International and Cross Cultural Evaluation
Session Type: Panel
Session Chair: Danielle C. de Garcia, MPA, CPT [Program Director, Performance Evaluation, Innovation, and Learning - Social Impact, Inc.]
Session Facilitator: Gabrielle Plotkin [Program Manager - Social Impact]
First Author or Discussion Group Leader: Amanda Leigh Stek [Senior Program Manager - Social Impact]
Second Author or Discussion Group Leader: Soham Banerji [Program Manager and MEL Specialist - Social Impact]
Third Author or Discussion Group Leader: Meredith Anne Feenstra [Senior Program Associate - Social Impact]
Time: Nov 01, 2018 (03:45 PM - 04:45 PM)
Room: Hilton - Center St. Meeting Room D
Audience Level: All Audiences
Session Abstract (150 words):
Preparing an appropriate methodology for an evaluation can be like preparing the perfect cocktail—a proper balance of the right ingredients can make all the difference! While the importance of mixed methods is widely accepted, evaluators often find themselves constrained to traditional methods due to structural or client demands. Nevertheless, innovative, participatory approaches like systems mapping, process tracing, and outcome harvesting are powerful tools that can be combined with more traditional methods to answer pressing questions around complex problems and systems. Likewise, they can give voice to traditionally underrepresented groups and offer co-created results that are both creative and persuasive. Ultimately, a mix of innovative MERL approaches can provide an opportunity to influence evaluation findings and recommendations in a way that speaks truth to the complexity of the systems in which we work. This panel will shed light on approaches that combine the traditional with the innovative, shedding light on both the challenges and opportunities that come with that mixology.
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