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  • A very informative discussion. Thank you Emal, Ted, Usharani and Aysha. I would like to add here that both research and evaluation are two separate but mutually exclusive categories. Whereas Research is about producing new knowledge, and about knowing the unknown, it is a broader term which encompasses evaluation also. Evaluation is targeted towards a specific aspect and may require certain approaches depending on the interests of the funder or the organization demanding it as pointed out by Ted.

  • All the comments to date are relevant.  What I wish to add is that people with research training and research skills can learn to be evaluators. The main challenge in my view is learning some of the specialized terminology used for evaluation.  But the overall process corresponds to research: identify the questions or issues, determine the best means to collect the data, analyze the data and report.

    I find it helpful to think of evaluation in terms of the root meaning of the word -- to make a judgement about something.  This judgement can be about a process in developing a program, the results of a program, or components of an organization's activities.  Usually associated with making a judgement is making recommendations about potential improvement.

    I would also advise those following this discussion to be aware that there are many different approaches to evaluation, such as participatory evaluation versus more traditional examinations of sub-groups with statistical methods.  Different methods are relevant in different cases, and dependent on the data actually or potentially available as well as the client needs.  But the funders supporting a particular evaluation may require certain approaches -- starting with and working through a logic model is their most frequently preferred approach.

    Ted Richmond, Program Consultant IISI

    • Thank you Ted and Neelam for your insights. I have a question on one of the points you raised. So in the Canadian context, is it the funders who usually determine the evaluation approaches an organization embark on?. For instance, if a non profit plans to evaluate the ontario basic income pilot and if the funder for this project is the government, will the organization have a choice to determine the evaluation approach to be employed or will the government enjoy this privilege?

       

    • There are different variables involved in determining the degree to which an organization, particularly a community organization, can determine the framework used for evaluation.  If the organization has an existing evaluation framework and has the resources to conduct the evaluation, then it essentially be autonomous in the process.  In that case the organization can conduct the evaluation within its own framework and carried out by staff with the necessary skills, or external consultants, or a mix of both.  But generally evaluation requires additional resources, and that means funding, and that implies funder input on the evaluation framework.  Some funders, especially some of the foundations and charities, have good evaluation framworks that can easily be incorporated.  Others funders, like government, will usually have a required framework that may not be totally suitable.  In the latter case the evaluator needs to be creative at the initial planning stage to satisfy funder requirements and also investigate other aspects of performance and outcomes that are of interest to the organization in question.

    • Beautifully summed up! Thanks Ted.

    • Thank you so much Ted for your time and valuable comment. This is very informative and insightful. 

    • Thank you Ted. That was quite informative.To sum up, the evaluator needs to balance both, the funder requirements and the autonomy of the whole process

    • Agreed

    • Thank you so much Ted for a very comprehensive and informative response.

  • Evaluation is done mainly to oversee the progress of a project, and to make decisions. It is done based on key research questions, and recommendations are made to the stakeholders based on the key questions. Whereas research, as said by Ayesha, is a big topic. In general, It is based on hypothesis/research question, focused to generate new knowedge, reseach oriented recomendations are made, and the results are published. Hope I made some difference.   

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