More inclusive (Sankey) diagrams to analyze Relevance

by Oct 30, 2017

Lately I’m being very inspired by reading the #Whatworks series written by Caroline Heider (IEG), mostly about Rethinking Evaluation, and more specifically, about evaluation criteria  (see another recent post about Intersections between criteria).

Last year, I came out with this idea to visually represent the analysis of Relevance (using a qualitative adaptation of a Sankey diagram) for an evaluation I was conducting – which turned out to be an innovative and effective way to convey the different levels of compliance of the program with other priorities to the Evaluation Reference Group.

However, reading Caroline’s post Is Relevance still Relevant? made me realized: the representation (fortunately, only the representation) of my Relevance analysis had been totally equity-blind!! (the analysis in the report had included all the groups, but I forgot to represent the other groups in the visual).

In the original one, I was just presenting the relevance of the program objectives compared to two (powerful) groups: the national priorities of the government and the priorities of the agency’s headquarters. But I totally skipped displaying the analysis of other stakeholders’ priorities!

So I decided to improve this visualization, by making it more inclusive and equity-focused. How? Of course, by including other groups such as local communities, and potentially all the other groups that usually have less voice (young people, inmigrants, ocasionally women, elderly, mentally or physically challenged), whoever turns out as relevant after an inclusive stakeholders’ analysis.

So here are the results, presenting a generic data mock-up for a generic Education program focused in girls:


This time I placed the program’s objectives in the center and the groups’ priorities around it. The thick lines imply high coincidence of priorities, and thin lines lower but some similarities. I also included an attempt to reflect non-verified correspondance (represented by the doted lines) and even a potential conflict of priorities (represented by the red dotted line).

I will keep thinking of more iterations, and I will use it in future evaluations. But I’m sure I will never forget to be inclusive when reprensenting Relevance. Thanks, Caroline!

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