Metrics without philosophy
White Courtesy Telephone nails it. Once I get past the current daily grind, I'll have more re my own thoughts on "a proper scientific and philosophical grounding" for metrics and social enterprise.
The number of people practicing evaluation without a license and without a proper scientific and philosophical grounding in the subject is, in my view, a scandal. Worries about evaluation, engendered in part by logic models the length of whale intestines, have become the math anxiety of the philanthropic world.
My general thesisâ€”if I could call it thatâ€”is that from the perspective of somebody like Mr. Walker whose organization has been commissioned to conduct lucrative, large-scale evaluations of social programs (lucrative by nonprofit standards), the Impact Revolution might seem like a good thing. But from the ground, from the perspective of many people working in community-based organizations, this so-called revolution has brought with it new sources of irritation, new ways of adding meaningless make-work to already overburdened nonprofit staff members.
It has not been a peopleâ€™s revolution, in other words, but rather one championed by elitesâ€”like myself, Iâ€™m afraidâ€” unable to see far enough beyond our own measuring sticks to understand the limitations of formal evaluation techniques, and the trade-offs in staff time and other resources that these formal techniques require.