How to Engage an Evaluation Specialist or Economist
When Its Time To Get Some Help
The modules in this toolset cover basic evaluation and economic analysis techniques that can be conducted with the training included in these modules and associated links. If you are interested in conducting more advanced assessment analysis, you should engage an evaluation specialist or economist.
Where To Find Help
This person could be a consultant, or faculty member from a research or teaching university including community colleges. Faculty from universities with an emphasis on research will likely require funds for graduate student assistantships in order to become engaged in your project. Faculty from universities with a teaching focus, including community colleges, will be more likely to need partial salary funds to become engaged. Some universities have economic or evaluation service groups which may be available to work with you.
Private consultants are another source of evaluation specialists or economists who are qualified to conduct more sophisticated analysis. You can contact the American Evaluation Association www.eval.org and use the "find an evaluator" tool. Some states have groups such as the Oregon Program Evaluators Network (OPEN) that can help you find an evaluator or economist.
It is a good idea to ask for past publications or recommendations from past project managers or collaborators, if the person is not known to you, whether a faculty member or consultant.
Why Get Help
By educating yourself on standard evaluation and economic analysis so that you can be conversant in the terminology of these disciplines, you are more likely to be able to establish a productive working relationship and attract a valuable evaluation specialist to your project. This person may initially provide a guidance role, until the project develops enough data to be usable in a more advanced analysis.
Once a project requires operational involvement of an evaluation specialist or economist expect the annual budget for evaluation to be at least $30,000 to $50,000 per year (4-6 months work). While this may sound discouraging, especially for smaller funded projects, one solution is develop relationships with evaluation specialists whose services might be spread across multiple projects. Scale your project to your resources and layout a plan with the evaluation specialist or economist to achieve the needed budget resources in a realistic time frame.