Rebecca Denniss, a Researcher at FPC on her time in research, evaluation and design since joining the team.
It’s been one year since I stepped into the world of evaluation and joined First Person Consulting. I’ve been mentored by the team and had the opportunity to work on a bunch of interesting projects on a range of topics from natural resource management, climate change adaptation and energy efficiency to financial literacy, innovation networking and public health.
Keen to explore the theory of evaluation methodology and how it might shape the work I do at FPC, I completed a subject on the practice of evaluation at the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Program Evaluation earlier this year. This was such a valuable experience, and I never thought I would develop such a passion for rubrics!
The learnings and insights from this course have influenced my approach to evaluation, and have inspired much discussion at the daily FPC working morning tea meetings (which we invite you to come to and chat about all things evaluation if you are interested!).
Last week we were discussing various methods and approaches that shape the evaluative judgments and recommendations we develop through our work, based on diverse data sources and research.
In one of our recent projects – an evaluation of the Wingate Financial Literacy Program – I adapted and applied one of the approaches to synthesis methodology that I had been introduced to through my studies. Due to limitations in the quality of data available, and some of the nuances involved in financial literacy programs and working with culturally and linguistically diverse communities, my approach involved developing descriptive metrics for making evaluative conclusions based on a combination of quantitative and qualitative data.
This allowed us to produce findings that were rigorous, but also captured the complexity of evaluating the outcomes and appropriateness of programs that aim to change financial knowledge, attitudes, skills and behaviour.