So What?

Data from – and for – the people

May 8, 2015  • David Devlin-Foltz

Now you see them, then you didn’t

The Washington Post’s Wonkblog explores new research by Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren on the interaction of race, poverty, and place. Their results support what seems intuitive: moving from high-poverty areas will increase lifetime income for kids. But those effects did not appear in an earlier study that raised doubts about a housing voucher program.Aspen colleague Maureen Conway flagged the significance: big public policy decisions sometimes hang on research that misses subtler, long-term effects.  We like the way she (and the Economic Opportunities Program) think.  


Data big and small

Social entrepreneur, friend of “So What?” and general cool guy Mark Hanis flagged this terrific piece on why big data need “small data.”  The money quote for us humans: “No one data set, no matter how big, is going to tell us exactly what we need. The new mountains of blunt data sets make human creativity, judgment, intuition and expertise more valuable, not less.”


Breakfast Treats

At our most recent Evaluation Breakfast event, Carlisle Levine, Laia Griño, and Leslie Groves offered some fresh thinking about when and how to involve program participants in the evaluation process. They made us APEPpers (somewhat guiltily) pause and ponder: how do we involve participants? If you weren’t with us (and missed our stunning technical feat of Skyping Leslie into our breakfast nook from way across the pond BEFORE our first cup of coffee), check out their presentations here and here.