Over the last 50 years, studying factors related to evaluation use has been a primary focus of research on evaluation. What have evaluators learned about making evaluations useful? A great deal! This workshop is based on five decades of learning and experience focused on enhancing the use of evaluation processes and findings. Never has this been more important and relevant. In what is being called a “post-truth” world, ensuring that evidence is credible and useful is critical at every level of programming and policy-making.
This workshop engages you in how to conduct utilization-focused evaluations. Utilization-Focused Evaluation (U-FE) begins with the premise that evaluations should be judged by their utility and actual use; therefore, evaluators should facilitate the evaluation process and design any evaluation with careful consideration of how everything that is done, from beginning to end, will affect use. Use concerns how real people in the real world apply evaluation findings and experience the evaluation process.
Utilization-focused evaluation is highly personal and situational. It offers a process for helping primary intended users select the most appropriate content, model, methods, theory, and uses for their particular situation. Situational responsiveness guides the interactive process between evaluator and primary intended users. The workshop provides you with facilitation approaches for working with stakeholders.
A psychology of use undergirds and informs utilization-focused evaluation: intended users are more likely to use evaluations, if they understand and feel ownership of the evaluation process and findings; they are more likely to understand and feel ownership if they’ve been actively involved; by actively involving primary intended users, the evaluator is training users in use, preparing the groundwork for use, and reinforcing the intended utility of the evaluation every step along the way.
The participants will…
- know the essentials of how to conduct utilization-focused evaluations (U-FE),
- experience facilitation techniques for engaging stakeholders,
- know how to distinguish different kinds of primary users and various types of use, and the implications of these distinctions,
- learn and apply the difference between findings use and process use,
- learn the research and knowledge base that supports U-FE, and
- learn the strengths and weaknesses of U-FE, contextual adaptations, and new directions in U-FE.
The workshop is for anyone who cares about the use of evaluations. You can be engaged in any aspects of evaluation, from commissioning evaluations, to conducting evaluations, to using findings.
This is a workshop on beginners’ level. No previous knowledge about evaluation or sustainable development required.