The key to receiving a funded project is an excellent proposal. Having served as a proposal reviewer for a number of National Science Foundation programs and been a part of teams that have won millions of dollars in NSF funding, I understand what is involved in writing a winning proposal. It requires a solid theoretical foundation, a detailed action plan, a qualified project team, a plan to evaluate the process and outcomes, an appropriate budget and timeline, and a plan for disseminating outcomes to the community. Our work together ideally begins as early as possible in the process so that the evaluation plan reflects the needs of the client and expectations of the funding agency.
We work together to create a logic model and outcome expectations for your project. From there, I develop appropriate formative and summative data collection strategies that are suited to your project needs and evaluation budget. The formative evaluation process provides information that guides clients to continuously improve the project’s implementation by suggesting course corrections to increase the likelihood of achieving desired project outcomes. Summative evaluation reports on whether the desired outcomes were achieved.
After a project has been funded, the evaluation plan is further refined to meet project needs. The data collection strategy likely includes both quantitative and qualitative methods, such as surveys, observation, and interviews about your project activities. Timely feedback is provided as the data are collected and more extensive analyses are conducted as appropriate using standard statistical and qualitative research methods. During this phase we discuss how the project is being implemented and what actions might be undertaken to improve.
As project funding comes to an end, it is time to look back at whether the project activities yielded the desired outcomes. The prior phases of the implementation evaluation are synthesized into a final report that measures the impact of the project on the intended stakeholders.
As your evaluation partner, I expect to communicate with project teams on a regular basis. This communication is two-way. By understanding all of the aspects of project implementation, including unforeseen events that can have an impact, I can tailor both data collection strategies and recommendations to changing needs. I will communicate findings with project teams in a timely, appropriate, and useful format.
Annual reports synthesize project evaluation findings over the course of a year into one document. This document is generally submitted to funding agencies, and may also be shared with other project stakeholders at the discretion of the client. In addition to summarizing accomplishments and challenges by project objective, the report will include actionable recommendations for the project moving forward.
Institutional Review Board Interaction
I am fully certified in the ethical conduct of research in social science settings through the CITI Program. Although evaluation activities are not subject to IRB review by law, some institutions exert a higher standard for evaluation activities. Preliminary IRB review is also occasionally required at the proposal stage. I will assist with or manage the IRB process as necessary for your project. Whether or not a project is subject to IRB review, data collection activities always maintain a high ethical standard, including informed consent and maintaining participant confidentiality.