Evaluation Inspirations

Take an Evaluator to Lunch Day

I tweeted the other day and asked my tweeps(twitter people, followers, for the twitter novice) what “evaluation great” they would like to take to lunch. I quickly tweeted a couple of my own, Ralph Tyler, known by some as the “Father of Evaluation”, I referenced him in my first blog post. I also included MQP (Michael Quinn Patton) because this is where I got my start in evaluation, reading his literature from this very book: Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods while working on a project in undergrad on identity development and young adult African Americans.

To have some discussions about the early days of evaluation, in comparison to how evaluation plays a role in society today would be an amazing exchange. I particularly like Patton’s insights and his answer to the question: What is the hardest thing to teach about evaluation, in an article by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). Check out his answer in the link above, I’m not going to tell it all! I could see a conversation on that question alone going on for days because it is so critical to utilization focused evaluation.

So, I will pose the same question to you, if you could take any evaluation great to lunch, who would it be? What would you talk about?

Think about it: Wouldn’t it be great to have a day for evaluators, like Take an Evaluator to Lunch Day or an extended Evaluator Awareness Month dedicated to demystifying the profession?

*Just this month we’ve already had Don’t Go to Work Unless It’s Fun Day (April 3rd), Tell a Lie Day (April 4th), Look Up at the Sky Day (April 12th), Blame Somebody Else Day (April 13th), and today is Tell a Good Story Day!


8 thoughts on “Take an Evaluator to Lunch Day

  1. Hi Karen,

    Interesting question!

    I’ve always been curious about the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) and I had a great opportunity to take two GAO evaluators to lunch just last week. It was wonderful to chat informally with them about their career paths about about their work. I learned a lot of inside perspectives over lunch that I’d never learn from their website.

    I met George Grob at the Eastern Evaluation Research Society conference in 2011 and had a chance to chat with him about his evaluation career. I thought, “Wow, he gives such good, reassuring career advice… I’d love to talk with him again.” Well, I got really lucky… We both live near DC so we had the same plane to and from the AEA conference in 2011. He shared more great perspectives and I hope to accidentally run into him again.

    And of course, I would definitely take MQP to lunch.


  2. I have had the good fortune to have lunch with many of the evaluation greats–Dan Stufflebeam, Michael Scriven, Jim Altschuldt, Lois-ellen Data, Eleanor Chelimsky, Tom Schwandt, Jennifer Green, Ernie House, and of course, MQP, as you so familiarly call him. There are others I would put on this list–my shelf is full of them…David Fetterman, Laura Leviton, Will Shaddish, Mel Mark, Blaine Worthen, Jim Sanders, Jean King, John McLaughlin…the list goes on…Good idea. Maybe you need to organize it at AEA.

    • That’s quite a list, you’ve had lunch with so many of the evaluation greats!

      I’ll be getting started at the Annual Conference by having lunch with Mr. Patton, please feel free to join us. Let me know if you’re interested!

      I like your idea *wheels turning* it would definitely make for an interesting meeting of the minds. I can see if I can add a couple more folks to the (lunch) party 🙂

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