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Engagement Evaluation: critical steps for a quality process

As we roll out our new course, Engagement Evaluation, IAP2A’s trainers have been talking about process, numbers and metrics, and how these are at the heart of an engagement evaluation.

Quantitative and quantitative metrics was also an issue that dominated discussion at the closing plenary session of the IAP2 Australasia Conference this year, and had many heads in the audience nodding in agreeance that this is an important topic for engagement professionals.

In the Engagement Evaluation module, we are introduced to the work of Michael Quinn Patton whose model asks three simple questions:
– So?
– So What?
– What Now?

We’re using those questions to help us understand what action the metrics are telling us to take. That’s one real benefit of starting the evaluation process early in the engagement process; you understand what aspects contribute to and influence the metric, guiding you to a targeted response.

The interesting and challenging part of the course – and of our trainers’ experience in evaluation – is understanding qualitative metrics. How do you measure ‘feel’ – for example, in response to a question such as “How do you feel about the engagement?” Would you ask that same question in a shopping centre pop-up booth, in an online evaluation with 200 responses or in a face-to-face workshop with only five participants? Whose views should carry more weight or are all views equal?

Engagement Evaluation stresses the importance of team self-evaluation, especially when some government agencies can have numerous evaluations on the go. Part of that process of continuous improvement is to generate knowledge to feed into your understanding of your community and its priorities.

The final session in the course addresses the important question of how to focus a report. We compare the purpose and styles of two report forms: one of inquiry – when the evaluation has been seeking to gather and collate information, and one of advocacy – when the evaluation has been seeking to determine the need or validity of change.

Photo: Chris Mene, IAP2Australasia’s trainer from Christchurch provided many insights from his role leading the engagement team for the Regenerate Christchurch project. “Sometimes a crisis can be the prompt that you need to mobilise everyone and work towards the best outcome you can possibly do.” Chris reflected.

Keen to dive more deeply into this topic? Join us for one of the upcoming Engagement Evaluation courses, where the experience of our trainer a perspectives of peers adds layer-upon layer of learning.

Register for the next training dates in your area:


Perth – 14 November

Sydney – 27 November

Adelaide – 28 November

Melbourne – 5 December


Auckland – 13 March

Wellington – 9 May

Register your interest