How We Work
What We Do
The PRAIRIE Group provides program evaluation and related services and serves in the role of internal or external evaluators. Many funding agencies (including National Science Foundation) require funded programs to have an external evaluator to serve as a third-party "check" on the progress and outcomes of a program. If your grant proposal requires an evaluator or evaluation plan, we welcome the opportunity to learn about your project and to help you write the evaluation plan before you submit your proposal. If you are already implementing a program and want to know how to improve it, please contact us to find out if our services are a good fit.
How We Work
Your Project Proposal. For newly funded projects, ideally we will start working together as you are crafting a program proposal. We will meet with you to discuss the proposal and program, discuss targeted outcomes, and develop an evaluation plan that is customized to your program goals, budget, and goals of the funding agency. We become invested in your project early on to help you make a strong program proposal, and when the project begins, we are ready to hit the ground running with an evaluation plan in place.
Collaborative Evaluation Plan. The heart of the evaluation plan is the logic model – an outline of what your program will accomplish and how. We will collaborate with you to draft a logic model, and then use it as the basis to flesh out the evaluation plan. The evaluation plan specifies evaluation questions (such as “how do participants describe their identity as scientists?”) and evaluation activities that answer the questions (such as interviews or focus groups with participants at the program site). Depending on the project, the evaluation plan may evolve over time to fit program needs as they arise.
Critical Friendship. Friendship means the PRAIRIE Group is a friend of your project – not an auditor or inspector. Our goal is always to support you, support your team, and support your program. Critical means that one way we can support your program is by offering critical thinking: an outsider perspective, a few clarifying questions, a different way to look at the evidence we have gathered.
Social Justice. We believe in education, public health, and community development programs that promote equity and human dignity. Our core goal is to help our clients make the most of their resources to make the world a better place.
Cultural Sensitivity. Individuals and communities have unique, diverse, and overlapping cultural fingerprints. We believe in understanding and respecting culture and context as a fundamental part of the evaluation.
Evidence. We believe that evidence (including narratives, experiences, and measurable data) should drive programmatic and policy decisions. We collect evidence that is useful for decision-making and help clients use evidence to revise and expand their programs.
We are members of AEA and espouse their guiding principles for evaluators.