In February 2020, we hosted a data interpretation party with over 60 Big Brother Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri (BBBSEMO) leaders and staff. The Evaluation Center uses data parties to engage stakeholders’ with the evaluation data. Together with our partners, we co-construct interpretations of the data and brainstorm recommendations based on the evaluation findings.
The Evaluation Center is partnering with BBBSEMO to evaluate the impact of their service delivery model on African American male Little Brothers aged 7-13. There were two goals of the BBBSEMO data party:
- To review and discuss findings from the study on mentoring relationships with African American boys.
- To brainstorm changes to BBBSEMO’s process, from recruitment/outreach to enrollment to ongoing support for African American Littles and their families.
The data party started with Evaluation Center staff sharing preliminary findings from all the data we had collected from administrative records, surveys, focus groups and interviews. Then, BBBSEMO leaders and staff reflected on what surprised them, what questions they had about the findings, and what questions might be missing from the data. They did this individually and in small groups.
Next, we mixed it up! BBBSEMO leaders and staff broke into different small groups and went to a designated station in the room. Each station contained data printed on large pieces of paper − called data placemats − that were hung on the wall. The groups reviewed the data placemats and documented ideas for potential changes in the BBBSEMO process to enhance the outcomes of matches between Little and Big Brothers.
After groups rotated through each station of data placemats, Evaluation Center staff did a “gallery walk” to review the comments left at each station, noting similarities and themes. The data party concluded with BBBSEMO leaders and staff sharing their big take-aways over lunch. Each table discussed the recommendations generated by their small groups and then shared those ideas with the large group.
The Evaluation Center will use the recommendations and ideas developed by BBBSEMO leaders and staff at the data party to help inform the next phase of the study − pilot program design and implementation.