By Ricardo Ramirez and Dal Broadhead
Ramirez, R., Broadhead, D. (2017).Capacity development in evaluation & communication to maximize impact. Ten Minute Window, 5 (1).
We developed and tested a capacity development approach that provides research partners with support in utilization-focused evaluation and research communication. Our partners have been IDRC-supported research networks and grantees working on applied projects in new fields such as Open Education, Open and Collaborative Science, etc. Much of their research is exploratory and field-building. Therefore some of the project outcomes are often emergent and the projects may need to adjust their theory of change. The capacity building approach places emphasis on an early 'readiness assessment' and on 'justin-time mentoring' that is offered at a pace that matches each project's timing and priorities. This hybrid approach has provided useful outputs in the form of evaluation reports that are 'owned' by the users; communication strategies that are targeted and use media of confirmed use by each stakeholder. The outcomes include: project teams able to become reflective practitioners and policy impacts on the ground.
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Keywords: Evaluation, Research, Educational Services, Research communication, capacity development.
About the Authors
Ricardo Ramirez is an independent researcher and consultant based in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. His consulting and research work includes communication planning, participatory evaluation and capacity development. He was professor of capacity development and extension and remains adjunct professor at the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, University of Guelph. He is a credentialed evaluator (Canadian Evaluation Society). His doctoral work focused on how rural and remote communities harness information and communication technology. He is co-author of Communication for another development: Listening before telling (Zed Books, London 2009) and co-author of Utilizationfocused evaluation: A Primer for evaluators (Southbound, Penang, 2013). Since 2009 he and Dal Brodhead have led the DECI-1 and DECI-2 projects. DECI-2 provides research teams with capacity development in evaluation and communication. DECI-2 team includes a team of regional mentors based in three continents. The project approach, the outputs, and a number of case studies detailing outcomes are available at http://evaluationandcommunicationinpractice.net The primer is available for free in three languages from this website.
Dal Brodhead is the CEO/Director of the New Economy Development Group, a value-based consulting firm based in Ottawa. Dal brings a strong background in community development, project management, evaluation, and applied research in Canada and internationally. Previously, he held senior posts in various Federal departments, and directed a national research project on regional development for the Economic Council of Canada. Internationally, he has led numerous evaluation and monitoring missions in Asia and Africa with a particular emphasis upon participatory and recipientdriven, inclusive approaches. He is a frequent facilitator and specializes in organizational capacity-building, community-driven strategic planning initiatives. He has written, lectured and provided technical assistance in the community economic development field and he has been a community coach in the field of urban poverty reduction. His work with Aboriginal and Inuit people is a particular interest and it has taken him to every region in Canada, most recently to Nunavut. He has extensive experience working with rural and northern communities in Canada and works in both English and French.
Since 2009 he and Dal Brodhead have led the DECI-1 and DECI-2 projects. DECI-2 provides research teams with capacity development in evaluation and communication. DECI-2 team includes a team of regional mentors based in three continents. The project approach, the outputs, and a number of case studies detailing outcomes are available at http://evaluationandcommunicationinpractice.net The primer is available for free in three languages from this website.
Patton, M. Q. (2008). Utilization-focused evaluation, 4th ed. Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore: Sage Publications.
Ramírez, R. & Brodhead, D. (2013). Utilizationfocused evaluation: A primer for evaluators. Penang: Southbound.
Quarry, W. and Ramirez, R. (2009). Communication for another development: Listening before telling. London: Zed Books.
Ramírez, R., Quarry, W. & Guerin, F. (2015). Community Note. Can participatory communication be taught? Finding your inner phronēsis. Knowledge Management for Development Journal 11(2): 101-111.