Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Why did the chicken cross the road?

On the Euforic website Rob van den Berg considers the challenges facing partners in evaluation....
"Collaborative evaluation is a potential minefield of misunderstandings about definitions, methodologies, concepts, logic and rationalities, reminiscent of the question ‘why did the chicken cross the road?’ The simple answer is that it wanted to get to the other side. Evaluation, however, wants to know whether the chicken took the shortest path across the road; whether it crossed the road in the quickest possible way; whether it did in actual fact reach the other side and whether it expects to remain there; and whether the needs of the chicken have been met by crossing the road..."

I think the case of the chicken who crossed the road has a lot of potential mileage as a metaphor for communicating what people think M&E is all about.

For example, my answer would be:

1. We need to ask the chicken what it had hoped to achieve by crossing the road. Not just pile on the questions regardless of its intentions. What were its objectives or its expectations? Did it in fact have a hypotheses it was going to test? A theory-of-change no less?

2. But we also need to be aware of the possibility that the chicken may have come across some unexpected benefits of crossing the road, after it did so. So just asking about its expectations will not be enough. We also need to ask the chicken about unexpected changes that took place. For example by using the Most Signficant Changes method, we could ask:

"What was the most significant change that took place in your life after you crossed the road?

We need to combine a deductive and theory based approach, with an inductive and experience based approach.

If you think the chicken would disagree with this, or you think there were other stakeholders in the chicken's neghbourhood who would have a different view, let me know, via the MandE NEWS Open Forum

1 comment:

  1. First we need to know the chicken language ,the way we can communicate with it.Jokes apart i loved your style of explanation and you write very well