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Correlation Blues

May 16, 2014

Last Call for Registrations: APEP Breakfast Next Wednesday

Our next advocacy evaluation breakfast is fast approaching (on May 21st), but y’all still have a bit of time left to register. USAID’s Marialice Ariens and Chemonics’ Oriana Wuerth will be coming in to present on their new “Advocacy Index”, a tool designed to assess an organization’s capacity to advocate for local or national issues. They will share their experiences implementing this tool with several grantees of USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives operating in Lebanon. Let us know you’re coming by filling out this pithy form.

Add to Your Reading List

Fresh off the presses across the pond, ODI’s “Monitoring and Evaluating Advocacy and Influence” is an impressive (and impressively researched) summary of the latest thinking about the challenge of assessing advocacy. The ODI folks dive right into current trends in the field, frequently cited frameworks for understanding policy influence, and tools and methods that M&E professionals have used with success. And to top it all off, they throw in a few case studies to illustrate how the theory translates to practice. So dig in, people.

Oh Correlation, Correlation

Did you know that the per capita consumption of cheese in the US correlates with the number of people who’ve died by becoming tangled in their bedsheets? Yep, it’s true. A correlation of 0.947091. How about the age of Miss America and murders by steam, hot vapors and other hot objects? Also true. This one is 0.870127. Tyler Vigen’s website, appropriately titled “Spurious Correlations“, underscores a major lesson from the wonderful world of statistics: correlation is definitely not causation. Still, we pledge never to watch a Nicolas Cage film again.