REAL Evaluation Services

The Benefits of Evaluation

Developing Capacity and Culture

The REAL Evaluation Fellowship 

Services Offered: 

Resources and Tools Offered: 

The environment for decision and policy- makers is one of urgent demands, financial constraints, shifting priorities and pressing timelines. Integrating the use of evidence into the decision making process can be challenging; however, the NSHRF  is committed to developing innovative programs to ensure the best knowledge available is used as part of provincial government decision making processes.

NSHRF views evidence as existing on a continuum which includes many types of knowledge and supports the use of multiple lines of evidence to inform decision making. Recently the demand for evaluation evidence to meet decision making needs related to accountability, learning, and advocacy in government programs has increased. To address this need the NSHRF provides evaluation advice and expertise in the form of REAL Evaluation Services.

REAL Evaluation Services assists in developing and implementing evaluation activities that are Relevant, Excellent, Accessible and Legitimate, thereby breaking down barriers to evaluation in the public policy development and decision making environment.

The Benefits of Evaluation

Evaluating the programs, policies and services you provide is an important step forward in having the knowledge needed to make evidence informed decisions. Evaluation can help to:

  • better understand the various components of your organization or program and how they influence one another;
  • uncover opportunities and strengths; and
  • identify threats and weaknesses that can be targeted for improvement.

Evaluation is essential for transparency and accountability, and with an increased demand for both in the use of public funds, engaging in evaluation is crucial for sustainability.

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Developing Capacity and Culture

Evaluation culture and capacity for evaluation are linked. Our REAL Evaluation Services provides practical advice about building evaluation capacity through building an evaluation culture. This is done through a participatory learning approach. We will provide evaluation expertise to guide you in making decisions, but you will remain involved at every step.

By involving people from your own organization we believe we enhance the likelihood that the evaluation activities and products are the right ones and that they can be used to effectively meet the needs of your organization in a variety of ways.

REAL Evaluation Services supports evaluation activities and products that are useful and accessible to decision makers, which impacts the extent to which evaluation is valued and used to inform decision making. By increasing use of evaluation we aim to influence evaluation culture.  Organizations that adopt an evaluative culture are more adaptable, flexible and ready to accept change. A strong evaluation culture supports integration amongst workers and communication both within the organization and externally.

The REAL Evaluation Fellowship

The REAL Evaluation Fellowship provides educational and practical experience to build capacity in the core competencies required for achieving the Canadian Evaluation Society (CES) professional designation of Credentialed Evaluator (CE). Evan Poncelet is the current REAL Evaluation Fellow. 

Evan Poncelet, MSc

REAL Evaluation Fellow

Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation                 

Services Offered

We offer a range of services that are applicable to various stages of evaluation and can meet a diversity of needs.  Our services are tailored to your needs and the breadth and depth of the services are decided by you.

Meeting/Workshop Facilitation Services
We offer customizable workshops and guidance on a variety of topics including:

  • all aspects of developing an evaluation framework (e.g., program theory, evaluation theory, designing evaluation questions, identifying indicators, data collection, analysis, report development, dissemination, and utilization);
  • building capacity through understanding your unique needs for evaluation and strengthening evaluation culture; and
  • logic models and theory of change models.

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Evaluation Framework Development
We offer support for developing an evaluation framework - essentially a plan for how you will carry out evaluation. We can do this by offering workshops or through more focused one-on-one assistance. Assistance for implementation is also offered once a plan is in place.

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Evaluation Tool Development
We can assist you in developing tools for collecting information needed to do evaluation including:

  • logic models;
  • theory of change models;
  • surveys;
  • questionnaires;
  • interview guides;
  • focus group guides;
  • intake/assessment forms; and
  • tracking forms.

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Stakeholder Consultation Services
We have developed a tried and tested approach to consultation services. Our methods and processes for consulting with the community have been employed in various contexts and presented at peer reviewed conferences. We offer assistance in planning consultations, implementing them as well as analyzing consultation results.

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RFP Development
Though we endeavor to build capacity to enhance in-house evaluation, there are times when obtaining assistance is necessary given organizational/program constraints on time and expertise. We can help you develop an RFP and manage the process to help you recruit the right person to meet your evaluation needs.

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How we can work together

To learn more about how we could assist you, please contact our Director, Evaluation Services, Nancy Carter, PhD. All of services have been developed to allow for cost recovery and exact costs will be determined on a case by case basis.

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Resources and Tools Offered 

Evaluation vs. Research Decision Tree

Evaluation and research are both forms of evidence useful for informing decision making. In some situations (e.g., funding decisions, determining ethical standards, hiring) it is desirable to distinguish whether a particular project should be classified as research or evaluation. This decision tree was developed as a tool to assist with answering questions about this issue.

To view the Research vs. Evaluation Tree, click here

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REAL Evaluation Services Testimonial Form

We have found that our most successful form of promoting our REAL Evaluation Services is you. Its word-of-mouth recommendations that really help create awareness of our programs. We would like to increase our testimonial collection by adding your comments. Please share your thoughts by completing this electronic survey