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AES Blog

This is the AES Blog, where we regularly post articles by the Australasian evaluation community on the subjects that matter to us. If you have an idea, please contact us at  . Blog guidelines can be found here.

 

Realist evaluation in practice: an interview with Brad Astbury

by Eunice Sotelo & Victoria Pilbeam

Many evaluators are familiar with realist evaluation, and have come across the realist question “what works for whom, in what circumstances and how?” The book Doing Realist Research (2018) offers a deep dive into key concepts, with insights and examples from specialists in the field.

We caught up with Brad Astbury from ARTD Consultants about his book chapter. Before diving in, we quickly toured his industrial chic coworking office on Melbourne’s Collins Street – brick walls, lounges and endless fresh coffee. As we sipped on our fruit water, he began his story with a language lesson.

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Patricia Rogers, in conversation

by Anthea Rutter

While Patricia Rogers is one of the most recently named Fellows, many of you will be familiar with her work from AES conference keynotes, Better Evaluation and her report on Pathways to advance professionalisation within the context of the AES (with Greet Peersman). She is Professor of Public Sector Evaluation, RMIT University, and an award-winning evaluator, well known around the world.

While she is one busy lady, I managed to catch her at the last conference in Launceston, which was apt because conferences were a key thread in her reflections. 

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Anona Armstrong: The founder of the AES

by Anthea Rutter

Although a number of AES members have founded consultancies to channel their evaluation work, it is another thing to think about – and actually achieve – the founding of a professional society. This is exactly what Emeritus Professor Anona Armstrong did. Through her company Evaluation Training & Services, the fledging society was born in the early 80s. Not only did Anona found the AES, she had the honour and distinction of having a piece of music written for her and performed at the AES International Conference in 1992.

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Learn from the AES Fellows

by Anthea Rutter and the AES Blog Working Group

In evaluation, a good mentor can help you navigate the perplexing terrain of diverse schools of thought on what evaluation is about and how it should be done. Their guidance can help you avoid the pitfalls which can occur when you are translating a plan into practice. And their insight into where the profession of evaluation has been can help you shape where evaluation is going.

The 18 AES Fellows have over 550 years of experience between them. There is certainly a lot we could learn from them.

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Evaluation literacy in NGOs

by Alicia McCoy, Alison Rogers, Leanne Kelly

Evaluation in NGOs in Australia has evolved at a fast pace. Ten years ago, the evaluation landscape in the non-profit sector in Australia looked very different than it does today. There was less evaluation occurring, very few organisations had internal evaluation functions, and funders were often satisfied with output focused reports.

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Bridging the Research to Practice Gap in Evaluation

by Rachel Aston, Ruth Aston, Timoci O’Connor

How often do we really use research to inform our evaluation practice? Many of us tend to use research and evidence to help us understand what we are evaluating, what outcomes we might expect to see and in what time frame, but we don’t often use research to inform how we do evaluation.

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Thinking outside the logframe: M&E frameworks for ‘innovative’ development projects

By Denika Blacklock

I have been working in development for 15 years and have specialised in M&E for the past 10 years. In all that time, I have never been asked to design an M&E framework for or undertake an evaluation of a project which did not focus entirely on a logframe. Understandably, it is a practical tool for measuring results – particularly quantitative results – in development projects.

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Igniting the evaluation fire – lessons from my first Ignite presentation

By Liz Smith

At the 2018 AES conference, Ignite presentations were introduced to light some fire in our evaluation belly. Ignite presentations are a set formula of five minutes and 20 slides with each slide advancing automatically after 15 seconds. Presenters have to concisely and quickly pitch their idea.

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All the take-outs from #AES18LST

By the AES blog team

The Launceston conference certainly set us some challenges as evaluators. The corridors of the Hotel Grand Chancellor were abuzz with ideas about how we can transform our practice to make a difference on a global scale, harness the power of co-design on a local level, take up the opportunities presented by gaming, and ensure cultural safety and respect. Since then, the conversations have continued in blogland. Here’s what some of our members had to say.

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Evolving the evaluation deliverable: Ideas from #aes18LST workshop participants

By Gerard Atkinson

Have you ever felt like you have put in a lot of work on an evaluation, only to find that what you have delivered hasn’t had the reach or engagement you expected? I’m not sure I have met an evaluator who hasn’t felt this way at least once in their career.

It was because of this that late last month I led a session at the 2018 Australasian Evaluation Society conference in Launceston, titled “Evolving the evaluation deliverable”.

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