Evaluating Community Impact 2015: Resources
DAY ONE CURRICULUM – Tuesday, October 27
Welcome and Opening of the Community
Module #1: The Dynamic Nature of Community Change and Impact
What is the “it” we are trying to evaluate? What are the implications of defining communities as “complex adaptive systems”?? What are the implications for developing, implementing, adapting and evaluating community change strategies? We need a strong grasp of these foundational ideas before we explore how we can assess our efforts to evaluate community impact.
Module #2: Building your Community Change Strategy
The work of evaluating community change efforts depends entirely on that challenge a group is trying to address and the particular strategy they are working towards. This is the “it” that evaluation is meant to assess. However, community change groups often struggle to craft a community change strategy that is compelling, actionable and engaging. In this module, we’ll explore the different ways to build and describe your community change strategy - including logic models, theories of change and frameworks for change – and the importance of using ‘strategic learning’ to inform the continual adaptation of strategies to reflect new learnings, shifts in context, and the arrival of new organizations to our efforts.
Module #3 Designing Evaluations that are Used
Sometimes you need to go slow before you go fast. While many community change practitioners are eager to get to discussions of measurements and tools, it is important that they lay the groundwork for a robust evaluation process before they get into the micro-mechanics of the work.
In this module, we’ll explore four critical pre-conditions for evaluating community change: clarifying your intervention, sorting out the role of evaluation users and evaluators, developing an evaluation scope of work and embracing some guidelines for developing good evaluations.
Module #4 Splash and Ripple Methods Carousel
All community change activities generate anticipated and unanticipated outcomes, and participants and evaluators need to try to capture both kinds of effects if they are serious about innovation and moving the needle on complex issues.
In this module, we will explore the limitations of traditional evaluation practices in identifying outcomes and explore three practical resources, from the simple to the sophisticated, that you might use in your own work.
- Presentation: Most Significant Change by Liz Weaver
- Presentation: Theory of Change by Paule Langevin
DAY THREE CURRICULUM – Thursday, October 29
Module #9: Contribution Analysis
The people involved in any assessment of any local effort to change some part of the community for the better eventually turn their attention to one of the most vexing challenges in the evaluation of community change initiatives: How do we know if there is a link between our activities and observed results? Would the apartment complex have been developed without our efforts? Were there other factors that influenced the type, scale and timing of each of the changes? Who can and should “take credit” for these outcomes? Groups unable to answer these questions will struggle to (a) describe the success (or failure) of their efforts; (b) make evidence-based decisions on future directions; or, (c) demonstrate the value of their work to themselves or others.
This section will introduce participants to the concept and practice of contribution analysis, a systematic approach to assessing the “contribution” of the activities of local roundtables and networks to changes in their community. It includes a general introduction to the questions of contribution, the steps of contribution analysis, and the opportunity to play with several techniques of contribution analysis.
Module #10: Making Sense of Outcomes and Communicating your Impact
Data does not speak for itself. People must interpret it, draw conclusions, make judgements and recommendations. Without sense-making, data is noise. With sense-making, it become part o
This session will explore different processes for ‘making sense’ of data, and will include a brief exploration of some of the emerging techniques for data visualization, something that leading evaluator, Michael Quinn Patton, has called one of the most significant developments in evaluation and community change in the last twenty years.
Module #11: Synthesizing our Learning
In this interactive module, learning participants will synthesize the key evaluation themes that have been presented during the last three days. They will be asked to reflect on each of the modules and determine how these lessons can be applied to their community change context. Using a synthesis tool, from the book, Gamestorming – A Playbooks for Innovators, Rulebreakers and Changemakers by David Gray, Sunni Brown and James Macanufo, participants will work in learning pods to create a visual representation of our time together.
Module #12: Key Themes and Learning Review
13 modules in 3 days is a lot of material. In this module, we’ll review the highlights of each, point out some new resources, and give you time to sort through how you will begin to use your learnings in your own community.