Looking through the Right End of the Telescope

Center for Evaluation Innovation

By Jim Coe and Rhonda Schlangen

An evolving dialogue has emerged among advocates, evaluation professionals, and funders concerned with evaluating advocacy. An earlier focus on questions regarding whether it is possible to evaluate advocacy has led to a proliferation of new tools that are aimed at responding to the real and perceived unique challenges to evaluating advocacy.

In this article, Jim Coe and I argue that this emphasis on the development of tools may be overstated. When examining how advocacy can best be served by evaluation, we suggest that a disproportionate focus on tools can cause other important issues to be overlooked. Not everything that can be measured matters and not everything that matters can be measured.

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