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Date and time: Wednesday 28 February, 2018 5.30 - 7.00 pm
Topic: Understanding evaluation contexts: Introducing the Framework for Situation Awareness in Program Evaluation
Presenter: Sarah Mason; Centre for Program Evaluation, University of Melbourne
Venue: VicHealth Seminar Room, Ground Floor, 15‐31 Pelham Street, Carlton South
Register online by: Friday 23rd February 2018

This is a free seminar organised by the VIC Regional Network Committee of the AES. Our monthly seminar series provides an opportunity for you to meet with AES members and others in Victoria and to share and learn from the experiences of fellow evaluators. Members are encouraged to bring along colleagues with an interest in the topic even if they are not yet members of the AES.

Seminar overview

Evaluators will say time and again that context matters in evaluation. That there is no universal ‘right way’ to do an evaluation and that evaluation contexts - the settings in which programs, policies and evaluations are situated - necessarily affect the design, implementation and effectiveness of evaluation practice.

This idea is documented in the AES’s evaluator competency framework, which dedicates an entire domain to understanding culture, stakeholders and context. It is also encouraged by evaluation thought leaders who call for ‘context-sensitive’ approaches to evaluation. But what does ‘context’ actually mean? And what pieces of information should an evaluator pay attention to if they are to adapt their practice to fit these contexts?

This seminar will briefly introduce the Framework for Situation Awareness in Program Evaluation: a research-based tool designed to support evaluators in defining and understanding the contexts in which they work. It will also introduce EvalPractice, an innovative online tool designed to build evaluators’ situation awareness skills through deliberate practice.

Through a series of real-world scenarios, attendees will also have the opportunity to practice applying the Framework for Situation Awareness in interpreting real-world evaluation situations.

Presenter background

Sarah Mason is a Research Fellow based at the Centre for Program Evaluation, The University of Melbourne. Sarah specialises in the design and implementation of high quality monitoring, reporting and evaluation products in complex and challenging environments. Over the past 10 years, she has conducted research and evaluation projects across a wide range of contexts, including Australia, the United States, Afghanistan, East Timor, Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia. She recently led the design and implementation of an international survey of more than 1,000 schools across the globe.

She has post-graduate training in experimental, quasi-experimental and non-experimental research designs, qualitative and quantitative data analysis, program theory-driven evaluation and evaluation theory. She is currently completing her Ph.D. in Evaluation and Applied Research Methods through Claremont Graduate University.

AES Evaluator’s Professional Domain of Competence:

Domain 3 Culture, Stakeholders and Context – Upstream stakeholders (context and understanding)

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