The tasks of the evaluator will vary greatly from project to project depending on the focus area, type of evaluation, and the scope of work involved. Nonetheless, there are a few key activities the evaluator is always responsible for regardless of the nuances of the project.
There are several universal responsibilities of an evaluator. Key things the evaluator should always do include program assessment, the collection of the necessary information about the program, and data analysis. Identifying areas that need improvement, and create reporting is also key.
It goes without saying that the evaluator should evaluate the project-but what does that mean?
For starters, evaluating the project means evaluating the entire process from inception to completion. The evaluator should be on board early the proposal stage to determine what kind of evaluation method will work best and help determine what data will be collected. How will it be collected, and analyzed?
Evaluations in large part are undertaken for the purpose of measuring or quantifying what is working and what is not. The easiest way to view this information is in terms of a report. Reporting on the findings of evaluation is another universal responsibility of an evaluator. Reports can include written conclusions, data visualizations, or a combination of the two. Dissemination goes hand in hand with reporting. Many companies choose to publish the findings of their assessments. The target audience may be stakeholders, peers within a given scholarly community, or the organization providing funding. Dissemination can also take the form of conferences or board meetings.
While the evaluator may not always be the person collecting data, they should certainly be the person evaluating how data is collected. Data collection and evaluation methods can drastically affect the integrity of the final project report. Evaluators assess how data is being collected, stored, analyzed, and transmitted. In many situations, the evaluator will be responsible for collecting data as well, although this is not always the case. The analysis is another story entirely. They should be responsible for analyzing data to determine the relative success of the experiment and in achieving the goals and objectives discussed in the research strategy.
Another key responsibility of the evaluator is to hold the team accountable for carrying out the project as outlined in the original proposal. The experiment is intended to take place according to the proposed project description. They are responsible for ensuring this happens to the best of their ability through objective assessment and candid feedback. The final report will include a section on how well the team adheres to the research plan.
The role of “Evaluator” is a difficult role to succinctly describe since each project and its evaluation needs are unique. Beyond a few constant responsibilities, the role is largely determined by the project they are working on and the team they are working for. A good evaluator will always work with their clients to determine their role within the project, and what they can do to fulfill client needs.
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