When it comes to discussions about careers with new acquaintances or even sometimes older friends, the understanding of what we do as Research Consultants and Program Evaluators is often limited. A lot of the time we're greeted with polite small nods that most likely show that people are just pretending to understand how we make our living, where sometimes our explanations are met with straight out confessions of, "I'm not exactly sure what that is. But it sounds interesting!" In fact, some of our own kids probably couldn't even explain to you exactly what it is that we do in our job.
Running our own consulting business means that our work takes on all forms, from project management to envelope licking, from intensive data analysis to sharing meals with project stakeholders. Looking beyond the industry jargon or vocabulary used in our work, the best way to describe what we do is just that we help all sorts of groups, from hyper-local community organizations to larger government run programs to make sure that what they are offering to the community is achieving its goals. As evaluators our job isn't to tell someone what their program is doing right or wrong; what we want is to make sure that our work helps to improve programs and to build on their strengths.
That being said, as much as our work can sometimes be a difficult thing to nail down with one straightforward definition, for the past while we have been working on connecting with our peers in the industry and networking to form stronger connections with others doing similar work. Recently, Karen Hayward has received her accreditation as a Credentialed Evaluator (CE) from the Canadian Evaluation Society, marking more officially our commitment to bring the best quality and most professional work to all of our clients. This accreditation guarantees a specific set of standards and approaches set out by the CES. You are able to read more about what a Credentialed Evaluator is and what these standards are on their website.
Keep checking back here for more updates as we continue our professional development here at CAP Consulting!