CES Webinar: Words of Evaluation

Title: Words of Evaluation: A terminological dictionary to clarify communication in evaluation practice
Speakers: Richard Marceau, Francine Sylvain, Ghislan Arbour, Frank Hogg
Offered by: Canadian Evaluation Society

  • project at the École nationale d’administration publique (ENAP) in Quebec City to create a terminology dictionary for people working in evaluation in French (2014)
  • then they realized that they could extend this work to English (currently working on it)
  • not just a matter of translating the French dictionary into English, but rather:
    • extracting the conceptual system
    • apply the methodology for terminology dictionary
  • what are the needs of evaluators when it comes to communication?
    • evaluators sometimes run into communication issues because they use different words to refer to the same thing (or the same word to refer to different things)
    • communication between evaluators and clients – even moreso!
    • as evaluators, our product is information, which is made of words, so we need to have clear communication!
  • challenges in evaluation language:
    • inaccuracy
    • incoherence – e.g., if you are writing a paper about needs assessment, you may just define terms relevant to that, but when others do the same for other types of/aspects of evaluation, but when you try to put it all together, you don’t have a coherent system
    • jargon – not known by not experts
  • What do we currently have?
    • evaluation textbooks contain specialized knowledge (but don’t solve our jargon issue and may not solve the incoherence problem)
    • general dictionaries use general language, but don’t contain the specialized knowledge, so may not work for our purposes
  • a terminological dictionary is meant to be a blend of the two – contain specialized knowledge but attempts to provide a coherent system
    • vertical coherence
    • horizontal coherence – e.g., if you have a definition of “program” and a definition of “evaluation”, then your definition of “program evaluation” should make sense in terms of the first two definitions
  • their terminological dictionary is focused on performance of programs (not on evaluation methodology or sociology of evaluation) – not designed to do research on evaluation, but rather to support evaluation practice
  • stay tuned for the release of the English version

Very similar slide deck to the one presented is available here.

This entry was posted in evaluation, evaluation tools, notes, webinar notes and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *