Stories & Examples

The Annotated Guide to Tools & Resources provides tools, frameworks, and resources to help you develop and implement your evaluation. It’s a repository of useful, practical materials that can help you create an evaluation plan; design your evaluation approach; develop or adapt tools and instruments; and otherwise move your evaluation forward.

This Guide was originally assembled from many sources and fields and annotated by evaluator Suzanne Callahan of Callahan Consulting for the Arts. We continue to add resources. Your suggestions are welcome!

Do you have a useful tool or resource to add? Contact animatingdemocracy@artsusa.org.

Animating Democracy resource
Authors: Penny Balkin Bach
Publication Date: May 14, 2012
Resource Format: practical tool
MWW: Audio in Philadelphia serves as an example of innovation in data collection and evaluation.  This resource captures Penny Balkin Bach’s contribution from Animating Democracy’s 2012 Social Impact & Evaluation Blog Salon.
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Animating Democracy resource
Authors: Mark J. Stern
Publication Date: April 30, 2012
Resource Format: website
Principal investigator of the Social Impact of the Arts Project at the University of Pennsylvania, Mark J. Stern suggests that cultural research must move beyond purely economic yardsticks in judging well-being.  This resource captures Stern’s contribution from Animating Democracy’s 2012 Social Impact & Evaluation Blog Salon.
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Authors: Suzanne Callahan
The 171-page book, Singing Our Praises, demystifies evaluation by highlighting glowing examples of how arts presenters have used it to learn about their success. Case studies tell the stories of presenters, artists and funders as they learned about the concept of participatory evaluation and put it into practice. These voices from the field provide real-life experiences, but they also reflect some of the more universal issues that will arise for other arts practitioners.
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Resource Format: case study
The Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation used evaluation and visual engagement techniques to document how “The End of the Line,” a documentary addressing the problem of overfishing our oceans, has impacted the debate in the UK surrounding sustainable fishing practices in England. The foundation conducted multiple entry/exit surveys at movie theaters in London collecting both qualitative and quantitative data, measured social media and press coverage, and conducted follow-up focus groups with the initial survey takers to determine the lasting impact of the film.
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Publication Date: June 26, 2014
Resource Format: website
The Lear Center’s Media Impact Project provides a deeper understanding of media’s influence on social trends and individual behavior. Through an evolving inventory of reports, publications and tools, the Media Impact Project works to:  
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Publication Date: September 1, 2011
Resource Format: case study
The Idea Book for Liz Lerman and the Dance Exchange’s The Matter of Origins: Evaluation Findings presents research measures and findings by Michigan State University (MSU, 2011) from an evaluation of Dance Exchange’s Matter of Origins project.  Findings spark thinking about rigorous, creative ways to evaluate informal science education through the arts.
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Publication Date: October 11, 2013
Resource Format: database, practical tool, website
Filled with resources, blogs, current events and much more on arts in the prison community; the Prison Art Coalition is a valuable tool to create awareness and promote the arts for the incarcerated.
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Animating Democracy resource
Authors: Maribel Alvarez
Resource Format: book / article, case study
Finding Voice, an ongoing program supported by the Tucson Pima Arts Council (TPAC) and Every Voice in Action Foundation, helps refugee and immigrant youth develop literacy and second language skills by researching, photographing, writing, and speaking out about critical social issues in their lives and communities.
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Animating Democracy resource
Authors: Lynn E. Stern
Resource Format: case study
In 2003, Understanding Neighbors, a collaborative project between Out North Contemporary Art House, the Interfaith Council of Anchorage and Alaska Common Ground, brought together nearly 100 citizens in a month-long series of dialogue sessions to address the question: “What is the social, moral, and legal place of same-sex couples in our society?” Artists Peter Carpenter, Sara Felder, and Stephan Mazurek created eight performance and vid
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Authors: Veronica Anderson
Publication Date: March 6, 2015
Resource Format: practical tool
Changing World’s Literacy and Cultural Connections (LCC) is an in-school program to enhance instruction in arts, literacy and cultural awareness. Through the program students learn new ways to write, produce art, and make connections between themselves, their classmates and people from other cultures. The program is especially unique for its focus on culture as the fulcrum for literacy and fine arts instruction.
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Publication Date: February 14, 2014
Resource Format: case study
This study offers findings regarding community engagement and impact for public art projects developed through the Community + Public Arts: DETROIT (CPAD) program. CPAD was founded out of the Community Arts Partnerships office of the College for Creative Studies (CCS/CAP) in 2008.  It brings the arts, communities, and youth together to produce high-quality public art projects and events that allow neighborhoods to express and develop their unique character and potential through the arts.
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Authors: Marc Maxson
Publication Date: August 2, 2012
Resource Format: practical tool
Through the use of computer-generated maps, Maxson offers an innovative tool and visual aid for story-based program evaluation (similar to a word tree or tree map).  Driven by an analysis of text, these maps show the “overlap between how an organization describes itself (to donors) and how storytellers describe the organization or some relevant social problem.”  Most importantly, what these visual aids reveal is that some “donor communications have little in common with project beneficiary stories.”  Social change organizations could use this visual mapping exercise to understand how their
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Resource Format: case study
  The documentary film “Waiting for Superman” reignited the debate over the quality of public schools in America. At the request of the Ford Foundation, the Harmony Institute completed an evaluation of the social impact of the documentary film. Before the film was released, the Harmony Institute identified indicators and constructed an evaluation framework to measure the social impact of the film. The evaluation methods included focus groups of audience members, online surveys, measuring social media analytics, interviews with education industry leaders, and analysis of press coverage.
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Animating Democracy resource
Authors: Jessica Arcand
Resource Format: book / article, case study
The Andy Warhol Museum presented the traveling exhibition, Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America—100 photographic prints and postcards from 1870 to 1960 that document the history of lynching in the United States. Racially motivated killings in the city had heightened existing racial tensions, and the exhibition provided a potent context for refocusing dialogue about race in Pittsburgh. The Warhol worked with a community advisory group to determine how the exhibition should be presented and interpreted both within and outside the museum.
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