Session Materials

Orientation & Context

Readings Worksheets

Complexity, Theories of Change & Logic Models

Readings Interactive

Asking Questions & Gathering Information

Readings Worksheets

Data Collection & Sense-Making

Readings Interactive

Asking the Difficult Questions



In Session 5 of the Eval Lab, we usually invite Tamarack Institute's Mark Cabaj to come answer participants’ burning questions related to evaluation and evaluative learning. Because of the current COVID-19 crisis, we decided instead to shift to recording an online facilitated conversation with Mark around some of these questions.


We recorded this conversation and have uploaded a series of videos for viewing that speak to burning evaluation and evaluative thinking questions. The conversation was facilitated in a way that grouped like questions together according to the Learning Journey Canvas. The Learning Journey Canvas, the overarching learning framework for this course, is a way to orient your process of evaluation.

A Conversation with Mark Cabaj

Knowing Your Context

Many collaborations involve aligning the activities of organizations who come with unique histories, different organizational cultures and structures, and varying capabilities capacities. What is the role of evaluation and evaluators in supporting collaborations? KEY CONCEPTS: Collaborative, participatory, and empowerment evaluation

Burning Questions

In the context of networks and collaboratives, how do we figure out what we want to know? KEY CONCEPTS: Asking questions, inquiry processes, principles and techniques, facilitating

Uses & Users

Recognizing that there are often differentials in power between members of a collaborative, and that our worldviews and social positions shape how we see the world and the questions we ask ... How do we address issues of power and privilege in evaluation, especially as we try to accommodate different potential users and uses? KEY CONCEPTS: Power and privilege, dominant and nondominant worldviews and ways of knowing

Methods & Tools

Recognizing that there is a plethora of theories, tools, and approaches… • How do we meet people where they are at? • How do we better match practices (tools) to purpose and principles? • How do we adapt as we go? KEY CONCEPTS: Purpose, principles, practices, methods

Larger Philosophical Questions

What is the role of evaluation/evaluators in times of crisis? How do we address the simultaneous challenges of ideology and “decision-based evidence-making”? KEY CONCEPTS: Crises, complexity, cognitive biases, scenario-based approaches