Jan Leung, the emerging evaluator who won our draw for the free conference registration wrote a short article on her experience and how she benefitted from her participation"
"The conference breakout sessions highlighted many different themes on evaluation. These themes were strongly supported by learning opportunities in the form of leading edge panel presentations, consultations and collaborations, short presentations, debates, and storytelling. The short presentations and storytelling was my preferred format for learning. It helped me learn about working with clients in different situations. It was interesting to hear about particular challenges faced by new and emerging evaluators and how they overcome them with innovative and creative solutions. I also found their self-reflections that were shared with us to be very encouraging and inspiring.
I particularly enjoyed the ones on data usage, and was even able to apply my takeaways soon afterwards. I was able to use the session on a comparison of six qualitative research coding methods, and the similarities and differences in the outcomes of each approach, to an evaluative data project. Two weeks after I attended this session, I was asked to do some qualitative data coding for 1,500 responses to a satisfaction survey for a non-profit organization for which I was already engaged in some research work. I happily said “Yes!” as I looked forward to applying one or more of the coding methods, and to using the tips and advice that were offered directly from this session.
One of the exhibitors was a director from SFU Leadership & Community Building Programs. It turns out she and I both live in East Vancouver! Besides the joy of meeting her, I was curious about their new pilot program Certificate in Evaluation for Transformational Learning and Social Change, which was developed with advice from Elder Roberta Price. This program is interesting to me since earlier I had heard keynote speaker Lea Bill, who is leading a project with the Alberta First Nation Information Governance Centre, speak on her work on data collection of cancer survivors. This made me connect the social and political factors impacting our data selection, definition, and the ownership of data, and how it can potentially affect Aboriginal people’s access to health care and impact research development in this area.
~ Jan Leung