Why Evaluate? 5 reasons cartooned, know any others?

Why evaluate?

It’s such a good question.

I like it better than “what is evaluation.”  It just seems more practical, less academic.  So a big thanks to the those of you who suggested I take on the subject.

Off the top of my head I came up with five reasons and cartooned them.  What reasons am I missing?  Let me know in the comments and at some point I’ll create a second series of cartoons.

Because you want to know if the project works.

So did it work cartoon by Chris Lysy

Because you want to do better.

 

Does anyone else feel like we could do better cartoon by Chris Lysy

Because someone made you.

 

Evaluation is required cartoon by Chris Lysy

Because you have a goal you can actually reach.

Tracking progress cartoon by Chris Lysy

 

Because you want to know which thing is better.

Compare things cartoon by Chris Lysy

17 Comments

  1. Susan Kistler on April 15, 2014 at 10:13 am

    Chris, love the list!

    I saw MC Frontalot (nerdcore rapper, MQ Patton’s son is his bassist) perform last night in Boston. Inspired, I’ll try to give some reasons in rhyme:

    Why Evaluate?

    You want to stop those hating on your intervention
    You want ultimate vindication
    You want people to throw money in your direction
    You want to counter misinformation

    When I say “just do it” you say “evaluation”
    When I say “just do it” you say “evaluation”
    Just do it! Evaluation
    Just do it! Evaluation

    Yeah, I probably shouldn’t quite my day job. Ooops. Well. Maybe too late.

    Thanks for all that you do to. You’ve inspired me to laugh a little more often.

    Susan



    • Chris Lysy on April 15, 2014 at 11:13 am

      Love it Susan.

      And thank you 😉



  2. Susan Kistler on April 15, 2014 at 11:36 am

    New verse!

    Why Evaluate?

    You want to understand impacts on your population
    You want causation not just correlation
    You want to tease apart the contribution
    You want actionable information

    When I say “just do it” you say “evaluation”
    When I say “just do it” you say “evaluation”
    Just do it! Evaluation
    Just do it! Evaluation

    You want to stop those hating on your intervention
    You want ultimate vindication
    You want people to throw money in your direction
    You want to counter misinformation

    When I say “just do it” you say “evaluation”
    When I say “just do it” you say “evaluation”
    Just do it! Evaluation
    Just do it! Evaluation

    Hmmm. Back to work.



    • Sophie Alvarez on April 29, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      You want to know what it entails: dedication
      A lot of patience, and documentation,
      A clear mind to set up data collection,
      To analyze it and to present the final equation
      🙂
      to work also



  3. Kim on April 15, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Like Susan says above, I love your cartoons too Chris! They give me a laugh every time. I’ve been a public health evaluator for 20 years and your cartoons hit home every time. Thanks!



    • Chris Lysy on April 15, 2014 at 12:57 pm

      Thank you Kim 🙂



  4. Stephen J. Gill on April 17, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    What creative folks! Chris, terrific cartoons. Susan, fun poetry (I think you have a new career.) a la Patton. I would add two “reasons” to the list. One is implied in Susan’s “tease apart the contribution”. We evaluate to find out what it was that affected the results. It might be the program being evaluated, but most often it is a combination of factors including systems factors that facilitated or were barriers to achieving the intended results. This includes unintended changes in the program and unintended consequences of the program. Also, we evaluate to reinforce the intended impact of the program. When we ask questions and observe people, we affect the results which can be a good thing for sustainability of the program and its outcomes.



    • Chris Lysy on April 17, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      Thanks Stephen,

      I appreciate the praise and the input. There’s definitely a cartoon or two in your comment 🙂



  5. Veronica Smith on April 17, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    This is great timing. I am working on my website redesign and you have inspiring me to create some sketches of my own on this topic.



    • Chris Lysy on April 17, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      I look forward to seeing your sketches 🙂



  6. Sheila B. Robinson on April 18, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Wow! Just….wow. I hardly know what to say! I’m so enjoying the humor of the cartoons, as always. What’s interesting to me is wondering how each person is reading the cartoons. I “hear” dry, sarcastic, deadpan voices from the characters in the cartoons.

    Susan’s rap is brilliant! I’m picturing a cartoon of her (MC E-Val?) with a sideways baseball cap, big gold chains, arms folded, fingers in peace signs…

    Getting serious now, Stephen pretty much captured what was on my mind in his last two sentences: “we evaluate to reinforce the intended impact of the program. When we ask questions and observe people, we affect the results which can be a good thing for sustainability of the program and its outcomes.”

    I’m often thinking not only of accountability, but of sustainability when I evaluate our school-based programs, and go well beyond the required or prescribed evaluation plan (especially with regard to data collection) to be prepared to report to any potential audience that could be involved in decision-making for future programming.



    • Chris Lysy on April 18, 2014 at 12:45 pm

      Thanks Sheila 🙂



  7. Melanie Wasserman on April 18, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Love the comics. These all seem to relate to final/summative evaluations. Here are some reasons to evaluate your project in its early stages (pilot test) and mid-stream:
    * Pilot test: to make sure your intervention has a chance of working; and/or to fine-tune your intervention
    * Process evaluation: To document your efforts (e.g., we trained this many people, we distributed this many school lunches, etc.); to help you tell your story



    • Chris Lysy on April 21, 2014 at 8:40 am

      Thanks Melanie,
      Good thoughts 🙂



  8. Benita on April 21, 2014 at 3:46 am

    Brilliant. What strikes me is that this is a blog where you can actually read and appreciate the comments section too.



    • Chris Lysy on April 21, 2014 at 8:42 am

      Thanks Benita,
      Lately you’ll notice I’ve been writing less text to go along with my cartoons. My audience is much more expert than I am when it comes to most of these topics 🙂



  9. clare on April 28, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    To get the word out about the awesome work you do – with real documentation.