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:
- 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.