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AES Blog

Welcome to the AES Blog

Australasia has some excellent evaluators. More than that, we have an evaluation community full of ideas and a willingness to share. The AES has long provided a place for us to come together, at regional events and the annual conference, to develop our community together. Now we’re taking it online! The new AES blog will be a space for AES members – both new and experienced – to share their perspectives, reflecting on their theory...

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Jerome Winston: 45 years of Evaluation Insights

by Anthea Rutter

Jerome Winston’s career spans over 45 years. He has fascinating insights into how evaluation was viewed in the 70s, which reminded me that back then, evaluation was not viewed as a separate profession, but as part of other disciplines.

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Keeping it real with Gill Westhorp

by Anthea Rutter

Gill was named an AES Fellow in 2018, and I was pleased to introduce her at the AES conference in Launceston that year. We started with what brought her into the field of evaluation, and what it was about realist methodology that not only piqued her interest but now defines her as a practitioner.

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How to avoid the evaluation fads and remain in fashion with Brad Astbury

by Jade Maloney, Jo Farmer and Eunice Sotelo

With so many authors and approaches to evaluation, knowing what to pay attention to can be hard. Evaluation, just like the catwalk, is subject to the whims of the day. How do you know what’s a passing fad and what will remain in fashion?

At the AES Victoria regional seminar in November, Brad Astbury suggested the following 10 books will stand the test of time.

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An insightful conversation with Scott Bayley

by Anthea Rutter

The question of what brings a person into the field of evaluation is always an interesting question to ask, particularly as you are never sure of the answer. In this case I did not expect the answer I got.

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It takes a community to raise evaluation capacity: learnings from a successful Evaluation Community of Practice

by Florent Gomez

Have you ever tried to grow evaluation capacity across your organisation? And this, with very limited resources?

At the recent AES International Evaluation Conference in Sydney, I shared some learnings from our successful Evaluation Community of Practice in the NSW Department of Customer Service (previously NSW Department of Finance) and other soft approaches to evaluation capacity building we are using in our department.

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Reflections from a seasoned evaluator, Chris Milne

by Anthea Rutter

Chris Milne was an early pioneer in the use of program logic.  As a founding partner of ARTD Consultants, he has designed and delivered numerous evaluations across diverse sectors and built the evaluation capacity of government and non-government organisations. In recent years, he worked with another AES Fellow, Patricia Rogers, on the NSW Government evaluation toolkit.

I enjoyed speaking with Chris. He struck me as a man with a high degree of humility, as well as someone who considers his answers in a balanced way. He is obviously committed to the environment and the world in which we live, and passionate about making it a good place for the generations that follow.

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Tribute to AES Fellow Jenny Neale

by Anthea Rutter

All of us in the AES were greatly shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Jenny Neale. Jenny had been a member of the Australian Evaluation Society for over 20 years and was an active contributor to the society both in her local Regional Network Committee in Wellington as well as a regular contributor at the AES International Conferences. 

Jenny was a Senior Research Fellow Health Services Research Centre, Faculty of Health, University of Wellington, New Zealand.

I interviewed Jenny last year and was rewarded by a frank discussion of life in the field of evaluation, its ups and downs and its frustrations!

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The early career evaluator research project

by Aneta Cram, Francesca Demetriou and Eunice Sotelo

We’ve heard it time and again: people don’t necessarily set out to be evaluators, but fall into the field. For those of us relatively new or emerging, this can be confusing to navigate.

As three self-identified early career evaluators (ECEs), who also grapple with what it means to be ‘early career’ or ‘emerging’, we were interested to learn more about how ECEs orient themselves, set their career pathway, and build their evaluation capacity. For the past eight months we‘ve been working on a research project exploring the experiences that current self-identified ECEs have had entering into and developing themselves across the diverse range of entry pathways and work contexts in Australia and, in part, New Zealand.

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Opening space for a community of practice

by Jade Maloney

Ever found yourself more engaged in the coffee break than the conference agenda? Ahead of the International Evaluation Conference #aes19SYD unconference day, Ruth McCausland, Kath Vaughan-Davies and I trialled an approach for the Australian Evaluation Society NSW meet-up that combined the best of both worlds – purposeful encounters with a coffee break vibe.

We adapted Open Space Technology, established by Harrison Owen in the 1980s, with the aim of finding “a way towards meetings that have the energy of a good coffee break combined with the substance of a carefully prepared agenda.” The approach has since been used around the world as a way of enabling people to self-organise around purpose.

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Presenting for audiences - some handy tips for aes19 conference presenters

by Gerard Atkinson

There is less than two weeks to go until the International Evaluation Conference #aes19SYD, taking place on 15 – 19 September here in Sydney. For those presenting at the conference, it’s time to polish off your presentation skills and get your materials ready. In the theme of “unboxing evaluation”, we’ve unboxed the art of developing effective and engaging presentations and put together an easy guide you can use not just in conferences but in any presentation.

The blog posts offers a few tips.

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