Nancy L. Porteous

Spring

The Lay of the Land: Evaluation Practice in Canada in 2009

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Pages:
1-49

A group of 12 evaluation practitioners and observers takes stock of the state of program evaluation in Canada. Each contributor provides a personal viewpoint, based on his or her own experience in the field. The selection of contributors constitutes a purposive sample aimed at providing depth of view and a variety of perspectives. Each presentation highlights one strength of program evaluation practiced in Canada, one weakness, one threat, and one opportunity. It is concluded that Canadian evaluation has matured in many ways since 2003 (when a first panel scan was conducted): professional designation is a reality; the infrastructure is stronger than ever; organizations are more focused on results. Still, evaluation is weakened by lacunas in advanced education and professional development, limited resources, lack of independence, rigidity in evaluation approaches, and lack of self-assessment. While the demand for evaluation and evaluators appears on the rise, the supply of evaluators and the financial resources to conduct evaluations are not. The collective definition of the field of evaluation still lacks clarity. There is also reassurance in looking toward the future. With increased appetite for evaluation, evaluators could make a real difference, especially if evaluators adopt a more systemic view of program action to offer a global understanding of organizational effectiveness. The implementation of a Certified Evaluator designation by CES is a major opportunity to position evaluation as a more credible discipline.

Special Issue

Introducing Program Teams to Logic Models: Facilitating the Learning Process

Authors:
Pages:
113-142

Logic models are an important planning and evaluation tool in health and human services programs in the public and non-profit sectors. This Research and Practice Note provides the key content, step-by-step facilitation tips, and case study exercises for a half-day logic model workshop for managers, staff and volunteers. Included are definitions, explanations and examples of the logic model and its elements, and an articulation of the benefits of the logic model for various planning and evaluation purposes for different audiences. The aim of the Research and Practice Note is to provide a starting point for evaluators developing their own workshops to teach program teams about logic models. This approach has been evaluated with hundreds of participants in dozens of workshops.

Spring

Impacts of the Canadian Evaluation Society's evaluation competitions for students

Authors:
Pages:
85-91

Spring

The lay of the land: evaluation practice in Canada today

Authors:
Pages:
143-178

A group of 12 evaluation practitioners and observers takes stock of the state of program evaluation in Canada. Each of the contributors provides a personal viewpoint, based on their own experience in the field. The selection of contributors constitutes a purposive sample aimed at providing depth of view and a variety of perspectives. Each presentation highlights one strength of program evaluation practiced in Canada, one weakness, one threat, and one opportunity. It is concluded that evaluators possess skills that other professions do not offer; they are social and ecc researchers versed in using empirical data collection and analysis methods to provide a strong factual foundation for program and policy assessment. However, program evaluation has not acquired an identity of its own and, in fact, has tended to neglect key evaluation issues and to lose emphasis on rigour. Today's program evaluation environment is dominated by program monitoring, the lack of program evaluation self-identity, and insufficient connection with management needs. But evaluation is not without opportunities — resultsbased and outcome-based management, advocacy and partnership efforts, individual training and development, and bridging between program management and policy development represent some. But first, evaluators must self-define to communicate to others what their specific contribution is likely to be. The article concludes with implications for the practice of evaluation in Canada and the blueprint of a workplan for evaluators individually and collectively, in their organizations and in their professional association.

Special Issue

Enhancing Managers' Evaluation Capacity: A Case Study from Ontario Public Health

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Pages:
137-154

Enhancing capacity is an important facet of empowerment evaluation. This article describes an initiative designed to help public health managers in Ontario improve their knowledge and skills in program evaluation. The initiative involved the development of a self-directed learning resource called the Program Evaluation Tool Kit and an accompanying workshop. The development of the Program Evaluation Tool Kit embraced five principles: taking stock of what was needed, building on shared values, valuing different perspectives, integrating planning and evaluation into routine program management, and maximizing adult learning.