Technical approaches an evaluator can take to enhance validity and reliability

| June 19, 2015


Topic:  Nonprofit Evaluation Questions  Instructions: 2-4 sentences/one or two paragraphs should do it, it is important for quality, accuracy and references,NOT length.

1. Knowing the critical importance of obtaining valid and reliable findings, suggest three technical approaches an evaluator can take to enhance validity and reliability. Briefly say why each of these approaches will enhance V and R.

2. The Guiding Principles of the AEA (Shadish, Newman, Scheirer, & Wye, 1995) maintain that evaluators must ensure the honesty and integrity of the entire evaluation process. Apply this principle to three areas of the evaluation process.

3. We discussed in Module 7 that the object of evaluation or what is being evaluated is often, at first, fairly obscure, probably not intentionally, but rather because important concepts that will be under evaluation are quite abstract and complex. One tool that is quite useful in answering the “what will be evaluated” question is the ability of the evaluator to provide operational definitions of the object of evaluation. Using your own organization, identify an abstract concept (object) that might lend itself to evaluation and provide an operational definition for this concept. (low Staff morale is a problem compared to faculty, what is an operational definition of the concept “staff morale.”)

4. What is the “best” approach to sampling to produce a representative sample given that you have access to the entire population of interest? And, when subjects (people) in your evaluation are hard to find, what might be the best approach to sampling?

5. When you are gathering data about your constituents/members/clients etc. and the data are quite sensitive, and you are not sure they will be comfortable in providing an accurate/honest answer, how might you approach collecting this sensitive data so that you increase the chances of getting accurate information and decrease making people uncomfortable. Provide a rationale for your answer and support it with examples.

6. Assume you have completed a needs assessments for new programs/services for your organization. Your needs assessment survey included 20 questions, all of which could be answered on five-point Likert scales (this is the typical rating scale like you see on the course evaluation form with five benchmarks ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree). Thus you have a set of data. Identify three statistics that would assist you in getting a general picture of the data. Say why you would use these three statistics over other options.

7. Using the data described in Question 8, say that you now divide the data into two samples, i.e., you want to compare how women vs. men responded to your needs assessment. What steps would you take to determine if there are important or “significant” differences between the responses of your two samples?

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