Evaluation Failures

Evaluation Failures: 22 Tales of Mistakes Made and Lessons Learned

Edited by Kylie Hutchinson

Foreword by Michael Quinn Patton

 

Evaluation Failures is a candid collection of stories from seasoned evaluators from a variety of sectors sharing professional mistakes they have made in the past, and what they learned moving forward. Dive into these engaging, real-life examples that are both entertaining and informative. Each story offers universal lessons as takeaways, and discussion questions for reflective practice. These real-life blunders in the field will leave you shocked, laughing, and definitely wiser.  The book is the perfect companion to anyone working in the evaluation field, and to instructors of program evaluation courses who want to bring the real world into their classroom.

 

“Real failures of real evaluators . . . no additives or preservatives.”

Robert Renaud
University of Manitoba

 

“Evaluation Failures is an impressive evaluation guide that highlights several real-world evaluation pitfalls (as presented by experts in the field) and provides useful suggestions as to how these may be skillfully navigated. It gives both new and seasoned evaluators permission to laugh at themselves as they discover more about conducting a successful evaluation. The text introduces lessons from evaluation failures as important tools on the road to evaluation success!”

Sandra Schrouder
Barry University

 

“This collection is useful for evaluators that want to reflect on their own work, successes and failures, and improve their craft. It is inspiring to see how the evaluators we all look up to have identified and addressed their challenges. We can all do the same to improve our craft! This collection of stories speaks volumes to the skills that we only learn from years working in the field of evaluation. This collection of stories offers new and seasoned evaluators the opportunity to learn from the mistakes and failures that are all too common in the field of evaluation.”

Beverly L. Peters
American University

 

“This is the evaluation book we've been waiting for! A must-read for all learning and working in the field.”

Amanda M. Olejarski
West Chester University

 

CES and AEA members - order directly from SAGE Publications and receive a 20% discount!

Table of Contents

Foreword by Michael Quinn Patton

Acknowledgments

Introduction

PART I. MANAGE THE EVALUATION

Chapter 1. It’s Not Me, It’s You: The Value of Addressing Conflict Head On - Corey Newhouse

Chapter 2. The Scope Creep Train Wreck: How Responsive Evaluation Can Go Off the Rails - E. Jane Davidson

Chapter 3. The Buffalo Jump: Lessons After the Fall - Gail Vallance Barrington

Chapter 4. Evaluator Self-Evaluation: When Self-Flagellation Is Not Enough - Emma Williams

PART II. ENGAGE STAKEHOLDERS

Chapter 5. That Alien Feeling: Engaging All Stakeholders in the Universe - Hallie Preskill

Chapter 6. Seeds of Failure: How the Evaluation of a West African Agricultural Scale Up Project Went Awry - Thomas Archibald

Chapter 7. I Didn’t Know I Would Be a Tightrope Walker Someday: Balancing Evaluator Responsiveness and Independence - Rakesh Mohan

Chapter 8. When National Pride Is Beyond Facts: Navigating Conflicting Stakeholder Requirements - Felix Muramutsa

PART III. BUILD EVALUATION CAPACITY

Chapter 9. Stars in Our Eyes: What Happens When Things Are Too Good to Be True - Jara Dean-Coffey

PART IV. DESCRIBE THE PROGRAM

Chapter 10. A “Failed” Logic Model: How I Learned to Connect With All Stakeholders - Chris Lovato

Chapter 11. Lost Without You: A Lesson in System Mapping and Engaging Stakeholders - Kylie Hutchinson

PART V. FOCUS THE EVALUATION DESIGN

Chapter 12. You Got to Know When to Hold ’Em: An Evaluation That Went From Bad to Worse - Robert P. Shepherd

Chapter 13. The Evaluation From Hell: When Evaluators and Clients Don’t Quite Fit - Marla Steinberg

PART VI. GATHER CREDIBLE EVIDENCE

Chapter 14. The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Evaluators: Dealing With Data Collection Surprises in the Field - Jan Noga

Chapter 15. Are You My Amigo, or My Chero? The Importance of Cultural Competence in Data Collection and Evaluation - Isaac D. Castillo

Chapter 16. OMG, Why Can’t We Get the Data? A Lesson in Managing Evaluation Expectations - Jennifer Bisgard and Mary Pat Selvaggio

Chapter 17. No, Actually, This Project Has to Stop Now: Learning When to Pull the Plug - Karen Snyder

Chapter 18. Missing in Action: How Assumptions, Language, History, and Soft Skills Influenced a Cross-Cultural Participatory Evaluation - Susan Igras

PART VII. JUSTIFY CONCLUSIONS

Chapter 19. “This Is Highly Illogical”: How a Spock Evaluator Learns That Context and Mixed Methods Are Everything - Benoît Gauthier

Chapter 20. The Ripple That Became a Splash: The Importance of Context and Why I Now Do Data Parties - Diana Tindall

Chapter 21. The Voldemort Evaluation: How I Learned to Survive Organizational Dysfunction, Confusion, and Distrust - Lisa O’Reilly

PART VIII. REPORT AND ENSURE USE

Chapter 22. The Only Way Out Is Through - Stephanie Evergreen

Conclusion

 

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