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The 3W’s of Assessment: Part 3

Madison Cutler | Minnesota SART Program Coordinator at SVJI @MNCASA

Welcome to our third and final blog of this series (if you missed them, be sure to check out part 1 and 2).

When a team is starting to do an assessment, the most often “W” that comes to mind is the “what.” Sometimes it is asked in a state of confusion and sometimes in a state of frustration. But asking these simple “what” questions can help clear up the confusion and hopefully make evaluation more successful.

The first “what” questions to consider are what do you need to know and what do you want to know. This difference is important because collecting more information that you need is potentially harmful. It can be triggering for victims/survivors and overtime fatigue and frustrate those who are giving up their time to inform your team.

The second “what” questions to ask yourself are what do you already know and what do you still want to know. These are important follow-up questions as they make you rely on your team’s expertise and help narrow down the number of questions you ask – which every participant will be thankful for! It’s important when asking these “what” questions that the team also checks assumptions. To prevent this, make sure the evaluation process is collaborative.

Lastly, when doing an assessment with a team, it’s important the team defines what success is. Whether it’s a certain number of respondents or that answer to a single question the team has been struggling with for months, the team should define what success is. It will not only help the team maintain momentum in their work, but also give them something to celebrate once it’s all over.

For more information, please contact svji@mncasa.org!