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When Expectations for Results Come Too Early: Innovative Measures and Methods

December 11, 2013
12:00PM - 01:30PM

Annenberg School for Communication, Room 300
3620 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

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Categories: Seminar

Many of us work on complex and entrenched problems that do not have quick solutions or predictable timeframes. Our strategies to address them are necessarily long-term, but our funding often comes with short timeframes and the expectation for quick results. This is a particular challenge for projects that involve communications or advocacy, where even identifying what short-term results should look like can be a challenge. This session will offer ideas about what it is meaningful to measure in the short-term, particularly when communications are involved. It will emphasize measures that not only demonstrate progress, but also contribute to ongoing strategic learning and adaptation. The session also will focus on innovative and cost-effective methods for capturing those measures, and provide real-life examples of how they have been used both domestically and internationally.

Julia Coffman is founder and director of the Center for Evaluation Innovation based in Washington, D.C.. The Center is dedicated to building the field of evaluation in areas that are hard to measure. Julia has more than 20 years of experience as an evaluator, and specializes in evaluation that supports strategic learning, particularly for advocacy, public policy and systems change efforts. She is also co-director of the Evaluation Roundtable, a network of foundation evaluation leaders that seeks to improve how foundations learn about the results of their grantmaking and increase the impact of their work. For 15 years Coffman worked with the Harvard Family Research Project, a research and evaluation organization at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Coffman led HFRP’s evaluation work for over a decade, which included evaluating foundation and nonprofit initiatives and publishing The Evaluation Exchange, a nationally renowned periodical on emerging evaluation strategies and issues.

This talk is part of a series on monitoring and evaluation (M&E) funded by Penn’s Provost’s Interdisciplinary Seminar Fund, and organized together with the Graduate School of Education, the School of Medicine, and Wharton.