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Coffee Break Conversation: Developing a Boundary Story for Your Evaluation

Info: Join us for an AEA Coffee Break conversation, featuring an upcoming pre-conference workshop taking place at Eval 23 in Indianapolis, Indiana. In this session, you will hear about the topic from the presenter and have the opportunity ask the presenter a question before heading out to Eval 23. You can find registration information for pre-conference workshops here:

Do you know the story of the intervention you are going to evaluate? Whose story is being told? How can this contribute to intervention myths? The story most commonly told of an intervention comes from the perspective of those who have designed it and are now commissioning the evaluation. It is an incomplete story that usually has not taken into account the perspectives of different stakeholders and their experiences of engaging with the intervention.

In this workshop, you will learn how to develop a Boundary Story for your next evaluation. It is the first step in designing an evaluation using the Inclusive Systemic Evaluation for Gender Equality, Environments and Marginalized Voices approach. We will go through the key elements of the Boundary Story (content, context, perspectives, stakeholder analysis), what it means to define a system and the different potential formats it can take and its possible uses as a stand alone evaluation product in its own right. Next, you will learn how to use the Boundary Story (a first order analysis) to define your Evaluation Boundary (a second order analysis) that will address gaps identified in the Boundary Story - especially related to the key dimensions of gender equality, environments and marginalized voices. Finally, we will look at how evaluation findings can be used to develop a more accurate and inclusive Boundary Story for the intervention that may help to dispel intervention myths and generate reflection for more inclusive design.

The workshop will make use of a practice case and will include individual and group work to simulate an evaluation scenario.

Learning Outcomes:

  • understand what a 'Boundary Story' is and why it is an important for evaluation.
  • develop a Boundary Story for their next evaluation and understand how to use it to define the evaluation boundary
  • consider the implications of the evaluation results feeding back into the Boundary Story to develop a more accurate and inclusive intervention story.

This workshop is aligned to AEA’s Competencies and Guiding Principles as follows:
This workshop is relevant for AEA members because it provides one practical way to apply systemic evaluation principles and is directly related to the Power of a Story in Evaluation. The process of developing the Boundary Story of an intervention is an essential first step to applying a systemic evaluation approach using boundary analysis. The Boundary Story helps evaluators to identify gaps in the story (perspectives, stakeholders, etc.). that the evaluation can address through an intentional systemic evaluation design. The resulting evaluation findings and insights act as a feedback loop when used to revise and refine the initial Boundary Story.

Shravanti Reddy
Senior Evaluator 
Theory Action Group

September 25, 11:30 AM - 12:00 PM ET 

Once you purchase the eStudy you must register for each session. Recordings will be made available to registrants unable to attend sessions live. Recordings will be made available to all registrants for 90 days.