Evaluation Literacy: Perspectives of Internal Evaluators in Non-Government Organizations

Keywords: Internal evaluator, evaluation literacy, non-government organisation, not-for-profit, evaluation

Abstract

While there is an abundance of literature on evaluation use, there has been little discussion regarding internal evaluators’ role in promoting evaluation use. Evaluation can be undervalued if context is not taken into consideration. Evalua­tion literacy is needed to make evaluation more appropriate, understandable, and accessible, particularly in non-government organizations (NGOs) where there is a growing focus on demonstrable outcomes. Evaluation literacy refers to an individ­ual’s understanding and knowledge of evaluation and is an essential component of embedding evaluation into organizational culture. In recognition of the value of the internal perspective, a small exploratory exercise was undertaken to reveal internal evaluator roles and ways of engaging with colleagues around evaluation. Th e exercise examined a key question: What is the role of evaluation literacy in internal evalua­tion in the non-government sector? Three Australian auto-narrative examples from internal evaluators highlight evaluation literacy and locate it among the multiplicity of roles required for optimal evaluation uptake. Analysis of the narratives revealed the underlying issues affecting evaluation use in NGOs and the skills needed to motivate and enable others to access, understand, and use evaluation information. Responding to the call for expanded research into internal evaluation from a practice perspective, the authors hope that the findings will stimulate a wider conversation and further advance understanding of evaluation literacy. 

Author Biographies

Alison Rogers, University of Melbourne

PhD Candidate 

Centre for Program Evaluation

The University of Melbourne

Leanne M Kelly, Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation Faculty of Arts and Education Deakin University

PhD Candidate

Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation
Faculty of Arts and Education
Deakin University

Alicia McCoy, Melbourne School of Health Sciences The University of Melbourne

PhD Candidate

Melbourne School of Health Sciences

The University of Melbourne

Melbourne, Australia

Published
2019-05-24