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  • […] 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 […]

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    The Accidental-On-Purpose Evaluator

    Updated on: Mar 24th, 2012
    Data Visualization
    Collage of a bar chart, people, arrow, computer and calendar.

    When I ask fellow evaluators about their career path, I’ve heard:

    • “I stumbled into it.”
    • “I kind of fell into it.”
    • “I couldn’t stand research anymore.”
    • “I wanted to do something useful.”
    • “I wanted to influence policy decisions.”
    • “I love math.”
    • “I hate math. That’s why I do statistics.”
    • And one more that always surprises me: “I needed something to do after graduate school.”

    For me, I accidentally-on-purpose fell into evaluation.

    In college I worked in a ton of different research labs – social psychology research, public policy research, psychiatry research, adolescent development research, early childhood research….

    Except they weren’t all research. It turns out that my favorites were actually evaluation, or at least siblings to evaluation. We were “researching” whether students were better-off after completing a Head Start program. Or “researching” whether a mental health counseling program for low-income mothers was effective.

    After college I applied to an “educational research and evaluation” position. I had no idea what evaluation meant, but the educational research part sounded great. The rest was history.

    More about Ann K. Emery
    Ann K. Emery is a sought-after speaker who is determined to get your data out of spreadsheets and into stakeholders’ hands. Each year, she leads more than 100 workshops, webinars, and keynotes for thousands of people around the globe. Her design consultancy also overhauls graphs, publications, and slideshows with the goal of making technical information easier to understand for non-technical audiences.

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  • […] 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 […]

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    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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