REMINDER- FREE CES Webinar – CJPE Book Club: Retrospective Pretest Surveys: Measuring the Present


Presented by

Evan Poncelet, MA

REAL Evaluation Fellow, Research Nova Scotia


WHEN:  October 30 from 12 pm to 1 pm Eastern Daylight Time


WHERE: CES webinars take place online using the Zoom platform. You can check your computer's requirements here.


REGISTRATION: Please go here to register:  LINK


COST: Free for all CES members





Webinar focus:


The survey: a fundamental part of any evaluator’s toolbox. Versatile, (relatively) inexpensive, and simple to distribute. Surveys tend to be administered using a pre-post design, detecting change by collecting data at baseline (pre-test) and again at follow-up (post-test). However, the traditional pre-post design is not always realistic in our work. Baseline data are often not collected due to timing, resources, or logistics. What’s more, traditional pre-post designs can be subject to biases like response shift bias, where respondents have a different internal frame of reference for the survey topic at pre-intervention vs. post-intervention.


Enter the retrospective pre-test survey. Using a retrospective pre-post design, follow-up data (post-test) and baseline data (retrospective pre-test) are collected simultaneously after an intervention. For example, at the end of a workshop you could ask participants to rate their present understanding of the workshop topic, as well as retrospectively rate their pre-workshop understanding. Issues around timing, resources, and logistics are mitigated, as is the potential for response shift bias. However, retrospective pre-test surveys hold their own limitations and biases to be addressed.


This webinar will provide an overview of surveys used in both traditional and retrospective pre-post design, as well as the advantages, biases, and limitations unique to both approaches.


Biography of presenter:


Evan is the REAL Evaluation Fellow at Research Nova Scotia. He has been engaged in evaluation since 2016. Quickly becoming interested in the field, Evan began attending evaluation conferences (CES, AEA), competed in the 2017 and 2018 CES-CESEF Student Evaluation Case Competition finals, and has volunteered in several capacities with the Canadian Evaluation Society and its Nova Scotia Chapter, most recently with the 2019 CES Conference as co-lead of the Evaluation Committee and social media support on the Marketing, Promotion and Sponsorship Committee.


Evan received his MA in Applied Social Psychology in 2018, which established a strong theoretical and methodological foundation for his work in evaluation. In his current position at Research Nova Scotia, Evan has gained valuable experience in internal evaluation within Research Nova Scotia, as well as external evaluation with a variety of clients through the organization’s REAL Evaluation Services. To date, he has been involved in evaluation projects across multiple sectors including not-for-profits, the public sector, healthcare, and education and looks forward to the many more to come in his nascent career. As an emerging evaluator, Evan strives to gain evaluation skills and knowledge, apply them in real-world settings, and connect with professionals in a range of fields.


Outside of work Evan enjoys traveling and backpacking, playing basketball, reading, and spending time with his partner Caite (and their cat, Digby) and other friends and family.



Learning objectives:


  • To understand the distinguishing factors of two types of surveys: traditional pre-post and retrospective pre-post.
  • To learn about different ways of structuring retrospective pre-test surveys.
  • To recognize advantages, biases, and limitations of both survey types.
  • To better enable informed choices around survey design.


In addition, this webinar aims to strengthen capacities in line with the following Competencies for Canadian Evaluation Practice:


  • 2.7 Identifies data requirements, sources, sampling, and data collection tools.
  • 2.8 Collects, analyzes and interprets data using appropriate methods.

If you have any questions please contact Vicky Van Massenhoven at [email protected]