So What?

Turning a Moment into a Movement?

August 29, 2014

Moment or Movement?

We admit that calling our weekly guide “So What?” can sound snarky. But evaluators and advocates and program designers of all stripes know that it’s a question we need to ask – especially when the stakes are high. That’s why we salute Fredrick Harris for his thoughtful query about the Michael Brown shooting: Will Ferguson be a moment or a movement?

Out of the beaks of Pelicans

Your APEP pals gave a shout-out last week to the Pelican [Platform for Evidence-based Learning & Communication for Social Change] listserv.This week the Pelican served up another intriguing exchange about the nature and limits of monitoring. A couple of posts featured the aptly named Seeking Surprise; author Irene Guijt urges us to embrace unexpected results, treating surprise as “[an] opportunity to reconsider our beliefs” and “an important monitoring principle.”

Did that hurt?

Your pals in APEP have hosted our fabulous Evaluation Breakfast meetings for nearly five years to massive critical acclaim. Stay tuned for our return in September! Fans will recall Russ Whitehurst of Brookings and David Stuit of Basis Policy Research presenting their Survey with Placebo study. They included a phony organization as one option in a survey identifying influential policy actors. Factoring it in helped them determine a more accurate “zero point.” Now comes Erik Vance with a fascinating study of the placebo effect in changing our perception of pain. Is it really all in our heads? It hurts to contemplate.