Good questions are the starting point
Can PEER help us build a survey?
Yes. But first, let's step back and take a systematic look at who needs what kind of data to make what kind of decisions. Often times there are better and/or cheaper ways to get the decision and action support that led you to want a survey in the first place.
How do we include evaluation in a grant?
Most grants require some level of evaluation. PEER can help you write that section of the proposal. In the process, we can often contribute valuable feedback on other parts of the proposal as well. It is possible to do this on short notice, but the more time we collectively have to put together a dynamite proposal the better.
We want to start evaluating, but we don't have funding. Can PEER help us?
Yes. We can help you start laying the groundwork for doing low-cost evaluation on your own, and/or we can partner with you in seeking external sources to fund more in-depth evaluation work.
How can we justify our program to funders or bosses?
It starts with getting clear about the decisions they make and the kind of evidence they find most compelling. Then we either collect new data or organize existing data into smart, reader friendly formats to help you make your case.
How can evaluation improve our program design or implementation?
Getting clear about a program’s underlying theory is usually the highest leverage starting point. From there you can prune activities that don’t have a direct logical connection to your priority outcomes. Then you can design data collection efforts to test the relative potency of remaining activities.
We've got too much data! Can PEER help us keep track of it?
Yes. Up front investment in organizing your data flow usually pays for itself many times over in improved effectiveness and efficiency. PEER can help you build systems to do that.
How can we make evaluation an ongoing internal function?
Most organizations need an evaluation success to build enthusiasm and buy in from a critical mass of decision makers. From there, it’s a process of envisioning (often reorganizing) staff roles and responsibilities, and gradually but systematically building individual evaluation skills and overall organizational capacity over the course of a couple of years.
Should we be thinking about doing "evaluation" or "research"?
Many large, multi-year National Science Foundation grant proposals require both evaluation and research. There is no clear recipe for how to parse these functions. The first step is getting the right partners to the table. Then those partners can discuss the most effective blend of evaluation and/or research in light of highest priority intended uses.