Links We Like
We have been doing evaluation work for over ten years and in that time have come across a large number of resources related to research methods and evaluation strategy and non-profit management. The links listed below are all top notch (we have used some of them in our own work) and we've provided brief annotations to help you decided whether they will be helpful to you. You should also check out our blog [insert blog address here] where you'll find ideas and new sites currently under review. If you find a site that you think we ought to include here, please drop up a line and we'll review it right away.
Logic Model Tutorial
If you would like to learn the basics of creating a logic model-- something often required by funders and very useful for evaluation, check out our online flash based logic model tutorial. It takes only about 15 minutes to view and gives you more than enough to get started developing a model for you program. You'll find it here.
Foundation Jargon Dictionary
For grant seekers trying to make sense of foundation RFPs, for development personnel seeking to pepper their prose with the latest terminology, for foundations looking to improve their communications, you need look no further than the online dictionary of foundation jargon. You'll find it all here.
In 1997, public service managers in Canada got together to ask a series of questions about how the services they provided were perceived by their customers. The effort resulted in a nationwide survey and the formation of the Institute for Citizen-Centered Service. The institute has published a number of excellent guides to improving service and several that specifically address how to measure customer satisfaction. Check out their Common Measurements Tool and How to Conduct Customer Surveys. Like most of the links you'll find here, both these volumes are serious, but not overly technical.
NY TImes Article on the Challenges of Measuring Philanthropic Work
This article talks about the problems associated with measuring large scale philanthropic programs designed to address broad social problems such as poverty or HIV/AIDS. Jon Gertner, the author has done his homework. He talks about logic models, theory of change approaches and the problems associated with randomized experiments in the social sector and places his focus on mega foundations such as Ford and Rockefeller . Most interesting however is his discussion of recent attempts to challenge the notion that creating financial value and creating social value are necessarily different pursuits. You'll find the article here.
The Evaluation Glossary
We get excited about program evaluation so a glossary of evaluation terms is beach reading for us. You might find one useful in drafting the evaluation section of a grant proposal or if you find yourself reviewing an evaluation report filled with terms like 'summative evaluation', 'null hypothesis' or 'ceiling effect'. We like the glossary at ec.wmich.edu/glossary/index.htm because many terms are listed with more than one definition. You get to see how several different experts have defined the same term.
Kellogg Foundation Evaluation Handbook
Available for free as a downloadable PDF file, Kellogg's evaluation handbook offers a framework for understanding what evaluation is and how evaluation works. The handbook was written in 1998 for Kellogg grantees and provides both a rationale for doing evaluation, and a blueprint for getting started. It is worth looking at if you want something that does more than skim the surface and state the obvious.
American Evaluation Association
The AEA's website will be of interest mostly to people who do and study evaluation. But if you are about to undertake an evaluation project, especially if it involves hiring an outside evaluator, you ought to take a look at the organization's Guiding Principles for Evaluators. We have briefly laid them out here [link to the About Us: About Us page] but if you need more detail you can get them straight from evaluation's premier professional organization.