It is easy for our evaluation activity to feel inaccessible, irrelevant or even repetitive to our stakeholders and to other sector practitioners who might otherwise learn a great deal with our work.
A connected approach considers whose voices are present in the reporting and dissemination of our findings, how these voices are represented in activity and who gets to hear and act on the findings.
Ensuring we are transparent can involve developing an awareness of the contexts in which we work, and sharing our outcomes, insight and learning with others.
Principles into practice: questions to consider
We have designed the following questions to help you think through how the Connected Principle can apply to your specific context of practice.
Some questions may be more relevant to you than others. Consider which might help you spark productive discussions with colleagues, partners or stakeholders.
Is your evaluation activity … transparent?
- How might you overcome the barriers that currently prevent you from making your processes and findings accessible to stakeholders, and the wider public?
- Do you find ways to acknowledge the limitations of your evaluation processes and results?
- Do you share your evaluation findings in a range of accessible formats which suit the needs of different audiences?
- Do you seek permission to share data at the point of collection or generation?
- Can you share or publish your findings (including both successes and challenges) on open data platforms or online?
Is your evaluation activity … aware?
- Do you have sufficient detail and information about activities, stakeholders and expected impacts before starting your evaluation activity?
- Do you have access to previous relevant evaluations and benchmark data?
- Would it be relevant to first carry out some background research or a literature review to help you identify what new knowledge you would like to focus on?
- In what ways does your own positionality (e.g. lived experience, professional role, personal position) affect the ways in which you evaluate? Is this clearly communicated in your evaluation activity?
- Are there wider societal or environmental factors that disproportionately affect particular groups that might impact on their experience of the evaluation activity? How might you take these into account?
Is your evaluation activity … shared?
- Who do you share the outcomes of evaluation with?
- Do you provide opportunities for feedback on your evaluation once you have shared it? What do you do with that feedback?
- Do you provide simple summaries of your evaluation, with access to more detail if desired?
- How could you work in collaboration with others, participate in peer learning and/or pool your evaluation expertise and knowledge?
In this learning case study, Rachel Kingdom shares how Yorkshire Dance’s project ‘In Mature Company’ can act as a template for a way of working with funders.
Mairi Taylor, Executive Producer of Birds of Paradise Theatre company, reflects on developing company-wide mechanisms to prevent assumptions in their work.