How to Set Meaningful Professional Development Goals in Evaluation: Part 2.

Sections of this topic

    A warm thanks to all who’ve reached out since the start of this blog. I began this series of posts thinking of a couple of my readers who consider themselves relatively new to evaluation. But regardless of whether we’re newer, seasoned, or somewhere in between, isn’t there always something new to learn? This is why I enjoy evaluation. On that note, let’s continue considering professional development goals. Again, I am writing more for my own learning and development. I do not consider myself an expert. Before we dive in, some of us might be cringing at the thought of adding more to our to-do list. Here are some productivity tips that I’ve found helpful:

    How to Increase Productivity and Get through that To-Do List

    • Dreading a task?
      • Get it done early in the morning or whenever your energy levels peak.
      • Find a time (and a place) where you are least likely to be interrupted.
      • Un-connect: place all gadgets in airplane mode.
      • Set a timer to 10 minutes, and commit to just 10 minutes of that task.
    • Keep track of time:
      • Use a spreadsheet to keep account of your time, and
      • Set a timer to avoid getting carried away by your work and losing track of time.
    • Exercise—it can boost energy levels
    • Tackle larger goals like professional development with like-minded others…

    Join a Community of Evaluators

    The American Evaluation Association (AEA) is a great professional organization that provides many opportunities to get involved, learn from others, and network. Many of the links below first came my way via the AEA. Here are a few resources from the AEA:

    • EVAL TALK: AEA’s e-mail list serve. Like all such resources, those who participate learn the most!
    • aea365: The American Evaluation’s Association’s Tip-A-Day program, by evaluators and for evaluators. Don’t discount yourself from writing a post. This blog features posts from newer evaluators too. Some of the contributors shared that they wrote posts to continue learning and reflecting on evaluation. Please contact me if you’d like to write for aea365.

    Commit to Continuing Your Education

    Nearly two decades after he gave me this advice, my father’s words ring true now more than ever: Money comes and goes. But you can never lose your education. Here are some free or low-cost options for skill-building and continuing education:

    • A website of evaluation-related resources, compiled by Gene Shackman, Applied Sociologist.
    • The American Evaluation Association. Topics covered by upcoming American Evaluation Association e-study webinars include:

    1) Correlation/Regression Analyses and

    2) Evaluation reporting using Data Dashboards.

    • Consider attending the American Evaluation Association’s 2013 conference from October 14-19th in Washington, DC.
    • Coursera offers access to online university courses. I’m particularly interested in the data analysis courses using the free, open-source R software.


    For more information about personal development, see the Free Management topic Personal Development.


    Priya Small has extensive experience in collaborative evaluation planning, instrument design, data collection, grant writing, and facilitation. Contact her at Visit her website at See her profile at