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Friday, September 21 • 12:00pm - 12:30pm
Evaluation fatigue and the tragedy of the commons: Are we plundering our participants' finite resources of patience and trust?

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Adrian Field (Dovetail Consulting Ltd)

The 'tragedy of the commons' explores the drivers and consequences of systems of shared resources, where individual users - acting independently according to their own self-interest - behave contrary to the common good of all users, by depleting or spoiling that resource through their collective action.

First developed in the 1800s with regard to cattle grazing on common land, it has subsequently been explored more widely to encompass such issues as the Earth's natural resources and the knowledge commons.In this presentation I pose the question of what if people's willingness to take part in evaluation and research activities is itself a finite resource? In a world where almost every day we receive an invitation to take part in consumer research, and individual data is routinely collected and shared, are we irrevocably depleting a resource that as evaluators we fundamentally rely on? What are the transformations that we need to make in our mindsets, and instigate more broadly in our professional and policy networks?

This presentation was inspired by a daily transactional experience of depositing a cheque in a bank, whereupon I was asked a few days later to complete an online survey about the experience. It led me to record over subsequent months the extent to which I was being invited to take part in surveys, and alongside this to reflect on the implications of this near-daily bombardment for our own practice. 

The presentation will explore and discuss with participants the options available to us as evaluators in our work; the wider forces at play that can undermine our individual best efforts; and the transformations we need beyond our individual practice if we are to support the credibility and impact of our work?

avatar for Helen Watts

Helen Watts

General Manager Strategy and Planning, Corangamite Catchment Management Authority
With a passion for achieving real natural resource management outcomes that are based on sound evidence and based on people's ability to contribute, learn and adapt.

avatar for Adrian Field

Adrian Field

Director, Dovetail Consulting Ltd
Adrian is the director of Dovetail, an Auckland-based evaluation consultancy, and a member of the Kinnect Group. Adrian has worked in evaluation in different capacities for some 20 years and doesn't really like how old that makes him feel. Adrian's experience traverses health, social... Read More →

Friday September 21, 2018 12:00pm - 12:30pm AEST
Chancellor 4