EES Conference June 2022 : “Evaluation at a watershed: actions and shifting paradigms for challenging times”

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Date/Time
Date(s) - 06/06/2022 - 10/06/2022
All Day

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Objective:

The EES 2022 Conference aims to provide an opportunity for evaluators, commissioners and users to come together to design the contours of necessary paradigmatic shifts and identify concrete actions.  In an effort to facilitate discussion four different themes have been identified.

 1. Institutional shift: transforming evaluation systems

Evaluation systems are now ubiquitous and embedded in organization practices. Within these systems, evaluation is increasingly routinized and as such can fall prey to path dependency. Evaluation activities are codified, with the expected use of specific evaluation criteria or type of evaluations (e.g., objectives-based evaluations). Evaluation systems can be powerful forces to promote evaluation activities, but they can also stifle innovation, or at times get in the way of transformation. In such systems, evaluation begets evaluation, that is ever less useful. Society spends more and more on evaluations but does not maximize the value it gets from it. At a time when evaluation could play a significant role in helping society overcome the challenges of our times, evaluation systems need a steer to rise up to the challenges of increasing uncertainty and need for transformation. At this critical juncture, the main question that we collectively ask is “How can evaluation systems avoid being boxed in by path dependency to support transformative evaluations?”

 2.  Identity shift: transforming evaluators

In this watershed moment for our planet and humanity, the role of neutral, unbiased and objective observers that evaluators have traditionally played is an increasingly uncomfortable position to hold. Young and emerging evaluators are a driving force in helping us rethink the role that evaluators ought to play in shaping a global transformative agenda. From sharing experiences of transformative evaluations, to reflecting on how the professionalization of evaluation can help evaluators to be part of the solution, there is a need for reflection and dialogue. At this watershed, a question that begs to be answered is: “From neutral observers to advocates, truth speakers, and agents provocateurs: what role should evaluators play?” 

 3. Content shift: transformation in and by evaluation

The most common form of evaluations remains project/programme evaluations, assessing whether projects have met their objectives within specific sectors of activities. Yet, the challenges of our times are multifaceted, they necessitate multi-sectoral and coordinated responses, they require going beyond projects, aiming for systems change and transformations. Evaluators are urged to go well beyond domain boundaries in applying systems thinking and interdisciplinary approaches. Contributing to the good Anthropocene involves changing our relation to natural and human systems to foster ecological balances that would preserve life and biodiversity but also to create inclusive, equitable and resilient communities. At this critical juncture, the content of evaluations also needs to shift and the main question that we collectively ask is “How can evaluations prioritize the main challenges of our time?”

 4. Methodological shift: transforming methodologies

The evaluation toolbox is getting more varied, sophisticated and innovative. Evaluators are seeking to make the most of big data, and are working more closely with data scientists, to provide real-time evidence of what works and what does not. At the same time, the realization that global challenges call for local solutions that are rooted in context, drive evaluators to explore avenues for more in-depth qualitative inquiry and join forces with anthropologists. This methodological effervescence encourages evaluators to redefine standards of rigor and at the same time, evaluators need to make their methods more accessible to agents of change and decision-makers. At this watershed we should ask ourselves: “How can evaluation make the most of methods and data to inform transformation?” 

MODALITIES

1. Papers: Individuals wishing to present a paper on an individual basis. These are papers that are not part of a panel.  Paper presenters will be asked if they want to chair/be discussants.  Papers will be placed within a panel by conference organizers.

  • Concise professional biography of all contributors (within 50 words)
  • Titles of their contribution
  • Abstract of the paper that is being proposed (max 500 words)
    • Rationale
    • Objectives sought
    • Brief narrative and justification (with regards to the review criteria above)
  • Specify of how the paper corresponds to the theme
  • Key words

Note: We would encourage paper presenters to put together their own panels as we feel that this way papers will be best matched to each other, but of course we will also be willing to do that.

2. Panels: This modality follows the presentation of single papers. Each panel will include 3-4 paper presentations and a chair.

  • should include 3-4 paper presentations and a discussant.
  • Concise professional biography of all contributors (within 50 words)
  • Title of the session
  • For each paper the guidelines for papers should also be met.
  • Up to 10 keywords for each abstract (5 as a minimum required count)
  • Consent with publication of final presentation if one is shared (will be published on the conference website to stay available for the Conference delegates)

 

3. Round tables: This modality is more flexible than papers, can include short presentations, but generally focused on a discussion held by different key individuals on the panel and driven by a discussant.  Each panel should include 3-4 paper presentations and a discussant. Authors/contributors cannot propose a topic for a panel as individual contributions. Rather a panel must include all elements.

  • At least one person to introduce and a minimum of 2-3 discussants.
  • Concise biographies of all round-table participants (within 50 words each)
  • Titles of their respective contributions
  • Abstract of the roundtable that is being proposed (max 500 words)
  • Rationale
  • Objectives sought
  • Brief narrative and justification (with regards to the review criteria above)
  • Specify of how the paper corresponds to the theme
  • Up to 10 keywords for each abstract (5 as a minimum required count)
  • Consent with publication of final presentation if one is shared (will be published on the conference website to stay available for the Conference delegates)

 

4. Meet the authors: This modality aims to facilitate engagement between authors of books and publications with the readership.

  • At least one person to introduce and a minimum of 1 author (single author) or 2 or more in the case of multi-author publications.
  • Concise biographies of all round-table participants (within 50 words each)
  • Titles of the book
  • Abstract of the session (max 500 words)
  • Rationale of the book
  • Objectives sought
  • Brief narrative and justification (with regards to the review criteria above)
  • Specify of how the paper corresponds to the theme
  • Up to 10 keywords for each abstract (5 as a minimum required count)

 

5. Meet the evaluation: This modality aims to facilitate engagement between the audience, the commissions, evaluators and users of specific complex evaluations.  This will be an opportunity to explore the real-world experiences of complex evaluation from multiple perspectives.

  • At least one person to introduce and a minimum one representative from the commissioner, and evaluation team respectively.  If the user is expected to be different from the commissioner, it will also be important to include users.
  • Concise biographies of all round-table participants (within 50 words each)
  • Titles of the evaluation
  • Abstract of the roundtable that is being proposed (max 500 words)
  • Rationale pf the evaluation
  • Objectives sought by the evaluation
  • Brief narrative and justification (with regards to the review criteria above)
  • Specify of how the evaluation corresponds to the theme
  • Up to 10 keywords for each abstract (5 as a minimum required count)
  • If the evaluation is public, it may be shared.

 

6. Think tank sessions: These are sessions where a single presentation will be done – some 15 minutes, then key questions will be introduced, and individual groups will be asked to examine specific questions.  The objective of these sessions is for discussion to follow specific topic or aspects of a topic and generate clear ideas/thoughts etc. These will be working sessions where presenters can make active use of their audience to further their specific discussions on a subject.

  • Concise professional biography of all contributors.  This can be 1 or more people (within 50 words)
  • Titles of the contribution
  • Abstract of the roundtable that is being proposed (max 500 words)
  • Rationale
  • Objectives sought
  • Brief narrative and justification (with regards to the review criteria above)
  • Specify what the session will be focusing on, what the author expects to achieve with the session
  • Specify how you expect to organize the session (break out working groups, mini fishbowl, etc.)
  • Specify of how the session corresponds to the theme
  • Up to 10 keywords for each abstract (5 as a minimum required count)
  • Consent with publication of final presentation if one is shared (will be published on the conference website to stay available for the Conference delegates)

 

7. Tools in use, changing tools: These sessions should focus on a presentation of a tool or tool set.  These sessions will focus on sharing practical skills and potentially delving into discussions on challenges and modification.  Presenters can also identify key questions on how the tools can be used, challenges faced etc.  These can include one or more presenters and the format can be upon to the presenters. Importantly, it is a way of highlighting methodological tools.

  • Concise professional biography of all contributors (within 50 words), minimum 1 person
  • Titles of the session
  • Abstract of the session that is being proposed (max 500 words)
  • Rationale
  • Objectives sought
  • Brief narrative and justification (with regards to the review criteria above)
  • Specify what the session will be focusing on, what the author expects to achieve with the session
  • Specify of how the session corresponds to the theme
  • Up to 10 keywords for each abstract (5 as a minimum required count)
  • Consent with publication of final presentation if one is shared (will be published on the conference website to stay available for the Conference delegates)

 

8. Fishbowl: This type of session is best served for the discussion of issues surrounding a common theme, rather than the presentation of papers.  The objective is to bring together different perspectives or points of view surrounding a single subject. The modality should include a brief introduction by starting participants, and a moderator.  Min 4-max 6, moderator, a presenter, and 2 starting discussants to frame the discussion.  Contributions to fishbowls must be introduced as a single even and include all participants.

  • At least one person to moderate, a second to introduce and a minimum of 2 discussants should be included.
  • Concise biographies of all members of the fishbowl team (within 50 words each)
  • Titles of the fishbowl
  • Abstract of the fishbowl that is being proposed (max 500 words)
  • Rationale
  • Objectives sought
  • Brief narrative and justification (with regards to the review criteria above)
  • Specify of how the paper corresponds to the theme
  • Up to 10 keywords for each abstract (5 as a minimum required count)
  • Consent with publication of final presentation if one is shared (will be published on the conference website to stay available for the Conference delegates)

 

9. Sparking discussion: These sessions are designed to instigate discussion on key issues and provide an opportunity for important themes to be presented from multiple perspectives. The objective is to bring together different perspectives or points of view surrounding a single subject, which is very current/ contentious/unresolved. The modality should include 6-8 10 min presentations by dynamic presenters who are able to effectively convey complex issues in a concise and dynamic way.

  • At least one person to moderate, 6-8 presenters
  • Concise biographies of all members of the session team (within 50 words each)
  • Titles of the spark discussion
  • Abstract of the spark discussion that is being proposed (max 500 words)
  • Rationale
  • Objectives sought
  • Titles of each presentation and short description
  • Specify of how the session corresponds to the theme
  • Up to 10 keywords for each abstract (5 as a minimum required count)

 

10. Birds of a feather:  Informal group that comes together to discuss a specific topic.  The sessions will allow for all participants to introduce each other and hold informal discussions surrounding a specific topic.  There are no presentations.  They require 1 or 2 people who would like to discuss a specific subject and for them to propose the subject and detail some of the issues they want to cover.

  • Concise professional biography of all contributors.  This can be 1 or more people (within 50 words)
  • Titles of the contribution
  • Abstract of the roundtable that is being proposed (max 500 words)
  • Rationale
  • Objectives sought
  • Brief narrative and justification (with regards to the review criteria above)
  • Specify what the session will be focusing on, what the author expects to achieve with the session
  • Specify of how the session corresponds to the theme
  • Up to 10 keywords for each abstract (5 as a minimum required count)
  • Consent with publication of final presentation if one is shared (will be published on the conference website to stay available for the Conference delegates)

General information

You will be able to submit abstracts via our online system between October 8 and October 31, 2021 by clicking here. 

Abstracts MUST be submitted electronically (via the online system) by the deadline of October 31, 2021. Abstracts submitted by fax or by email CANNOT be accepted.

Abstracts received after the submission deadline cannot be accepted and therefore will not be considered for the programme or for publication.

Submission of an abstract does not guarantee its acceptance.

All presenters of accepted abstracts are expected to have financial resources to cover all expenses related to the Conference: registration fee, travel and accommodation charges (except for bursary applicants).

By submitting the abstract, the author authorizes the organizer to publish his/her abstract in the Conference proceedings.

Resubmittal of already submitted abstracts can only be done before the deadline of October 31, 2021.

No author can participate (in any capacity) in more than 3 sessions.

Abstract formatting

All abstracts must be written in English.  (Should your abstract be accepted for a presentation you must be able to give your presentation in English and answer the questions from the audience.)

Abstracts should contain no more than 500 words. The system will automatically let you know whether or not you have complied with this rule.

Tables and figures cannot be inserted.

When you submit, PLEASE BE SURE TO CHOOSE THE MOST APPROPRIATE THEME AND THE MOST APPROPRIATE MODALITY.

Updating submissions

If you have already submitted an abstract and have asked us to hold it until the June 2022 conference you will have an opportunity to update this submission.  Similarly, if you need to make changes to a submission, an opportunity for this will also be provided to you.  A separate email will be sent to you regarding the above.

REVIEW CRITERIA FOR ABSTRACTS

All abstracts submitted for the EES Conference 2022 will be reviewed by a team of evaluation experts, involving a first review of all abstracts followed by a quality and consistency check second review.  Of particular importance are abstracts’ technical quality and relevance to the evaluation community. Abstracts that are simply descriptive without analysis will be considered of low quality.

The criteria for review are as follows:

  • Relevance to the evaluation community: Is the topic likely to evince interest among evaluation practitioners, managers, commissioners and/or users?
  • Quality: Does the proposal meet high professional quality standards?
  • Improvement of evaluation capability or skills: does the abstract focus on material that potentially improves evaluators’ capabilities?
  • Creativity and innovation: Is the proposed contribution likely to generate a fruitful debate through the dissemination of new ideas and innovative approaches, potentially going beyond the “business as usual”?
  • Public interest: Is the proposed contribution likely to advance the public interest through the promotion of diversity and equity, cross-cultural exchanges, diversity of perspectives?
  • Gender equality: consideration of gender-related aspects and intersectionality. Abstracts incorporating gender-related reflections and intersectionality will be given priority, ceteris paribus.
  • Evaluation at a Watershed, actions and shifting paradigms for challenging times: alignment with the overarching theme of the conference, whilst not mandatory, is recommended.