Are evaluators responsible for making sure that evaluation results are used by those funding the program or running the program?
Or, should evaluators focus on providing results? Does our responsibility end once the results are disseminated?
This is something I’ve been thinking about for years, and this issue actually led me away from laboratory research and into program evaluation. I’m a huge fan of utilization-focused evaluation and feel personally responsible for making sure that the results of every evaluation project I’m working on get used to really improve the program.
Someday I’d love to survey a bunch of evaluators and ask them about this. I’m sure the answers would vary based on their prior training, and where they work, and their ages, and years of evaluation experience.
Sometimes evaluation use is out of my control, but usually it’s not. In fact, there are lots of things that evaluators can do to make it more likely that results are useful and get used.