We understand the importance of bringing an unbiased, independent external firm to a project or program to measure and provide ongoing feedback about a process (envisioning, strategic planning, collaboration building) or a project or program. Whether it is required by a funding agency or not, the use of an external evaluator brings objectivity, professional best practices, a caring and unbiased perspective, and credibility to your project.
While an external evaluator does not participate in the development of a project, program, or process, it is critical to get us involved as early in the planning process as possible. We have experience in reviewing goals and guiding an organization and its stakeholders in refining their intended outcomes to a manageable number within a workable framework. We can suggest a balance of qualitative and quantitative measures that will maximize the depth of information that can be collected within a given budget. For larger budgets, we can provide the rigor required for publishable findings in peer-reviewed journals.
We can also function as embedded evaluators and know how to take steps to maintain our indepence and unbiased credibility for third party funders and dissemination purposes.
In classical terms, we provide
- Front-end evaluation: a measure of the target audience's interests, knowledge, and levels of curiosity that will allow you to target your project accurately from the outset.
- Formative evaluation: a measure of the degree to which a program is meeting goals from the moment it begins through the end of the project.
- Summative evaluation: an intensive look at the efficacy of the project as determined from project (and funders') goals.
- Remedial evaluation: an inquiry into the ways in which a completed project may be tweaked to make it perform more effectively for re-envisioned outcome goals.
We use a number of approaches, theoretical frameworks, and organizing principles to guide our work, depending on the needs of the stakeholders and the nature of the project. Our tool kit includes includes but is not limited to: communities of practice, identity negotiation, appreciative inquiry, outcome mapping, stakeholder analysis, design thinking, proactive coaching, continuous quality improvement, and data parties (participatory data analysis and interpretation).
Perhaps you need a partner who can help you with the Framework for Evaluating Informal Science Education Projects. Maybe you need a firm that can help you find your way through the What Works Clearinghouse to maximize your chances of getting funded. We may be an ideal partner in helping with these sorts of external interpretation and meaning-making, but most importantly, we bring the approach that most makes sense to your project.