Last week, together with 15ish other evaluation colleagues, I attended the half-day online workshop on Evidence Standards and Quality of Evidence Rubrics. The workshop was organised by the UK Evaluation Society and delivered by Thomas Aston and Marina Apgar.
The core idea of the workshop is based on the Quality of Evidence Rubrics document that Tom shared here on LinkedIn two years ago, in his pre-Medium blogging era. But of course, this workshop was more than that. It started with a broader discussion about the evidence and case-based methods, presented some other approaches and frameworks for assessing the strength of evidence, and then focus moved towards more practical issues.
I believe there is a consensus that the quality of evidence is central to evaluation work. It is equally important to those who conduct evaluations, those who commission and manage evaluations and those who QA others’ work. Marina and Tom presented rubrics for (1) assessing the quality of evidence for single cases, and for (2) assessing bodies of case-based evidence. Each rubric is fully operationalised through five criteria, standards and descriptors which makes them clear, practical and easy to follow. Also, the message that the presented approach is not set in stone and that rubrics should be adjusted to the context and actual needs was a relief and encouragement. No one wants to be caught and exposed by method police for wrongly implementing other people’s approaches 🙂
Besides the content, discussions with colleagues, practical sessions and real-life tips were also positive ingredients of the workshop.
On the other side, the length of the workshop was not sufficient for such a big topic. I would say this was an introductory session. We haven't had enough time to dive deep into the nitty-gritty of proposed rubrics and criteria, and I missed that. Of course, expecting both breadth and depth at the 4-hour workshop is not realistic, but still worth mentioning. It would be much better if this is a whole day or even a two-day workshop. Maybe to be offered as a professional development workshop at some of the evaluation conferences.
Anyhow, really good and useful workshop. Applicable learning. Worth attending.