Evaluation 2018: Speaking Truth to Power

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(19) Big data and evaluation

Session Number: 19
Track: Professional Development Workshops
Session Type: Professional Development Workshops
Workshop Lead Presenter: Michael Bamberger, Dr. [Independent consultant - independent consultant]
Other Workshop Presenter 2: Peter York [Principal - BCT Partners]
Other Workshop Presenter 3: Kerry Bruce [Executive Vice President - Social Impact]
Time: Oct 31, 2018 (08:00 AM - 03:00 PM)
Room: CC - 26C

Audience Level: Beginner
Learning Outcomes (PD Workshops): o Tools and techniques for the collection and analysis of big data
" Potential benefits and challenges associated with using big data
" The four main kinds of data analytics that can be used with big data
" Practical guidelines for integrating big data into the design and implementation of monitoring and evaluation in both industrial and developing countries.


Session Abstract (150 words):  The purpose of this workshop is to provide an introduction to the tools and techniques for the collection and analysis of big data, and to use case studies to illustrate the multiple ways in which big data and data analytics can strengthen program evaluation in both industrial and developing countries.   The workshop offers a balanced view of both the potential benefits as well as the political, ethical, methodological and logistical challenges.  It will also address the question of what are the conditions required for the successful application of big data to evaluation, and to what extent do these conditions exist in developing countries?  After presenting an overview of the main kinds of data collection instruments (ranging from the analysis of twitter and other social media, through electronic data from ATMs and smart phones, to satellite images); the workshop will present the four main kinds of data analytics that are to apply these data.  These include both sophisticated techniques such as predictive modelling, but also the very useful techniques for combining multiple sources of information into an integrated data base with a common metric that permits the identification of new patterns and insights.   Big data and smart data analytics are playing an increasingly important role in all areas of research, policy, and program design, delivery and evaluation and applications are spreading rapidly in developing economies.  Media coverage portrays big data as everything from the start of a higher level of social development to insidious tools promoting exploitation by hidden commercial empires and political control by powerful elites.  Most evaluators are still trying to understand and assess the exiting potential and the troubling downsides.  Many evaluators also wonder whether these sophisticated new technologies will ever have much impact in communities and countries with limited digital infrastructure.   Case studies from the US and developing countries will illustrate how big data is already being used for the evaluation of social programs through real-time diagnostic studies (description), predicting which groups are likely to succeed and fail and identifying individuals or groups at risk so that remedial actions can be taken (prediction), and proposing guidelines to improve the design and implementation of future programs (prescription).   The workshop will use the principles of adult learning to provide practical guidelines for integrating these potentially powerful tools and techniques into the design and implementation of the kinds of evaluations with which participants are familiar.   The focus will be problem-based and collaborative (rather than didactic), encouraging participants to share their professional expertise and knowledge.  It will also show how big data can help participants achieve their own work objectives.  The workshop will be structured around the discussion of real-life cases providing hands-on experience.    This year’s workshop incorporates feedback from the positively evaluated 2017 workshop.  Also, this is a rapidly evolving field and within the time constraints we will try to address a number of emerging issues such as: data security, block chains, and the contribution of big data to the sustainable development goals.      


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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 8, 2018. Email cancellation requests to registration@eval.org. All refunds are processed after the meeting. After October 8, 2018 all sales are final. For Evaluation 2018, 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.