He Said, She Said

Improving our skills as an evaluator can only positively impact our organization and our employees.  In our previous blogs we have shared some positive ways to provide feedback.  In this blog series we are examining some of the mistakes we have seen in evaluation and feedback.  Dr. Mary Lanigan, respected researcher and evaluation expert examined 3 critical mistakes that evaluators make.

Mistake 2 – One Person’s Complaint Used as Evidence

Part of our job is to collect people’s input and opinions in surveys and interviews to uncover patterns.  One person’s input, sincere or not, is not evidence of a problem.  If a large sample size in unattainable, then multiple sets of hard data must be collected.  The following are key indicators of relevant data:

  • large sample sizes
  • multiple data sources
  • concrete and specific examples of opinions
  • concrete and specific follow-up questions to opinions
  • suitable solutions discussed to determine substantive respondent knowledge

By investigating survey responses and opinions within a framework of logic, consistency, and close examination; we are better equipped to offer relevant and credible evaluations to our employees.  Have you experienced mistakes in data collection?  How did you overcome them?


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