Current Work

This page showcases some of our recent thinking on our work in evaluation.

Use of complexity methodologies in evaluation

Judy is currently working on ways to show how complexity methodologies can be useful in evaluation.

Evaluating in complexity: nearly 20 years on what have we learned? 

How do we evaluate where the context keeps changing, the activities planned morph into something different (with varying degrees of success) and where programme managers are left with a bit of a gap between what they planned and what actually happens but still need to evaluate it. Nearly 20 years ago Glenda Eoyang and Thomas Berkas wrote an article on how to evaluate in these kind of conditions.  In preparing this presentation Judy went back to their suggested ways of working and thinking to see how well their ideas have stood the test of time. Judy also considered how their ideas have informed her current practice, and what this might mean for evaluators going forward.

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What is on the rubrics horizon?

Evaluators in Aotearoa New Zealand are increasingly using rubrics in their evaluative practice. We now have a working knowledge about using rubrics and have some sense of what makes them more or less effective. While rubrics have shifted our evaluation practice, it has not been without challenges. Judy observes “I’d put my money on rubrics being here to stay, but I think we need to understand the challenges of using them and mitigate against the risks.”

In this e-book Judy Oakden and Melissa Weenink explore some of the challenges they have encountered using rubrics in their practice. They also include feedback from a discussion during a practice-based session at the ANZEA Conference in Auckland, New Zealand in 2015 where they explored difficulties they and others face with rubrics.

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The use of rich pictures in evaluation

Rich pictures are a Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) tool that offer a quick and efficient way to work with key stakeholders to better understand their “problematical situation”. However, they can be hard to do well. In this demonstration presentation at the American Evaluation Association Conference in Denver in 2014, Judy Oakden workshopped with participants to develop up a rich picture example and showed ways to use this methodology effectively in evaluation. You can download the e-book companion from this demonstration workshop by clicking on the title above.

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