Welcome! This is the home for all things related to evaluation at Public Lab. Many different feedback efforts are ongoing in different sectors and we try to coordinate our efforts to minimize survey fatigue or redundancy. @liz leads the evaluation team! Ask questions below to find out more.
Follow along with current work
See recent work related to evaluation here, or click on the boards below to see progress on:
1) our Snapshot Evaluation and Evaluation Framework (May 2015-May 2018) generously supported by the Rita Allen Foundation
2) "pulse" feedback collected at in-person events with the Listen For Good 5 questions plus 6 of our own custom questions
3) year-round ongoing evaluation processes
What are we measuring against?
Why we evaluate
The Public Lab community intentionally works together to create a place where collaboration thrives. We collaborate on collaboration. We seek to collectively and publicly understand how we ourselves work together, and the systems, conventions and structures which shape that cooperative practice.
To do this better, we need feedback loops that add to our self-awareness. The feedback we wish we could see includes additional stats about our community's activity, especially where there are gaps, for instance, community questions languishing unanswered, which can be heart-breaking when the topic is environmental health. We would also like to identify emerging topics in real time in order to better tune outreach; this helps us ensure that diversity stays high even as early adopters rush in.
As Chris Kelty famously wrote of his concept "recursive publics," "[we] are the builders and imaginers of this space." This theme stretches across the FLOSS community, and increasing our self-awareness will help us eliminate our collective blind spots. As FLOSS publics strive to broaden in diversity and inclusivity, careful monitoring of where onboarding processes fail is critical.
By watching channels and identifying people who connect with the community in one or more ways, we hope to become aware of the ways that people first connect with Public Lab, and what their second, third, etc steps may be. If there are not subsequent steps, what stopped people who had started to engage from participating further?
How are we measuring?
Formerly, a one-size-fits-all Annual Community Survey** was delivered over email lists and posted on the website. 2017_Public_Lab_Community_Survey_.pdf. We have now replaced that low-response format with multiple surveys that reach specific segments of our community who are having shared experiences.
- People attending live events, in person or remotely: we use a modified Listen4Good template with Net Promoter Score questions as well as customized questions about our mission and respondent demographics. Delivered via SurveyMonkey.
- Barnraisers, example 2016_Annual Barnraising_Feedback_Survey_.pdf, and 2017_Regional_Barnraising_Survey.pdf
- Software Contributors, example: 2017 survey, delivered via Github
- Organizers, example: 2017 Survey as GoogleForm and 2017_Organizer_Survey.pdf, delivered via email and personal direct outreach
- Partnering Organizations update their activity every year on publiclab.org/partners
A series of stakeholder interviews was done in 2017! You can read them here:
|Interview: Ramsey Sprague||@stevie||about 2 years ago||1||0|
|Interview: Yvette Arellano||@stevie||about 3 years ago||3||0|
|Interview: Jim Gurley||@stevie||about 3 years ago||1||0|
|Interview: Nayamin Martinez and Gustavo Aguirre Jr.||@stevie||about 3 years ago||2||0|
|Interview: Karen Savage||@stevie||over 3 years ago||0||0|
|Interview series with Grassroots Community Organizers||@stevie||over 3 years ago||2||0|
|What fuels a movement?||@stevie||almost 4 years ago||5||0|
Statistics on community activity are publicly displayed at http://publiclab.org/stats.
Experiment with customizing your own queries of publiclab.org activity by adjusting the DD-MM-YYYY in the URL, for example → https://publiclab.org/stats/range/31-01-2016/31-12-2016/ !
Research into pathways through Public Lab's ecosystem is located at https://publiclab.org/first-contact.
User interface design
See the User Interface page for more on design work towards user interface and user interaction improvements. This is an area where many people are offering feedback!
Other interesting views of the Public Lab community over time
|evaluation notes: community segments -- not what you think!||@liz||over 2 years ago||0||0|
|How can I make a tag graph visualization?||@bsugar||almost 3 years ago||3||8|
|Is anyone studying or writing about the rise in Codes of Conduct in open source projects?||@warren||almost 3 years ago||0||3|
|Help with a standard mini-evaluation for assessing software outreach efforts?||@warren||about 3 years ago||1||11|
Older page content
From 2011 via @warren, interesting! Read on:
On this page we are in the process of summarizing and formulating our approach towards self-evaluation; as a community with strong principles, where we engage in open participation and advocacy in our partner communities, this process is not that of a typical researcher/participant nature. Rather, we seek to formulate an evaluative approach that takes into account:
- multiple audiences - feedback for local communities, for ourselves, for institutions looking to adopt our data, for funding agencies, etc
- reflexivity - we may work with local partners to formulate an evaluative strategy, and this may often include questionnaires, surveys, interviews which we take part in both as subjects and as investigators
- outreach - by publishing evaluations in a variety of formats, we may employ diverse tactics to better understand and refine our work; its publication in diverse venues (journals, newspapers, white papers, video, public presentation, etc) offers us an opportunity to reach out to various fields (ecology, law, social science, technology, aid)
- location - our evaluations should be situated in geographic communities, examining the effects of our tools and data production in collaboration with a specific group of residents
Good evaluative approaches could enable us to:
- quantify our data and present it to scientific, government agencies for use in research, legal, and
- provide rich feedback for field mappers (in the case of balloon mapping and other public scientists to improve their techniques
- assess the effects of our work on local communities and situations of environmental (and other types of) conflict
- involve local partners in the quantification and interpretation of our joint work
We're going to use a few different approaches in performing (self-)evaluation -- each has pros and cons, but we will attempt to meet the above goals in structuring them.
Approach A: Logbook questionnaire
The logbook is an idea for a Lulu.com printed book to bring on field mapping missions for balloon mapping.
Although this strategy can be reductive, compared to interviews, videos, etc, its standard approach yields data which we can graph, analyze and publish for public use. The results will be published here periodically. Any member of our community may use them for fundraising, outreach, or for example to print & carry to the beach to improve mapping technique.
Read more at the Logbook page.
A mini version of this questionnaire was used by Jen Hudon as part of her Grassroots Newark project and can be found here:
Approach B: Community Blog
The community blog represents a way for members of our community to ... critical as well as positive...
To contribute to the community blog, visit the Community Blog page
Approach C: Interviews
We're beginning a series of journalistic/narrative interviews with residents of the communities we work with. Read more at the interviews page.