Engage with stakeholders to check your insights & ground truths

I was listening to a podcast this morning (the Globe and Mail’s Colour Code’s Race and Real Estate episode) and one of the guests, Andy Yan, shared the concept of Ground Truths. He explains that to ground truths is to check data and statistics against what’s happening on the ground.

This concept of grounding truth is also a used in emergent learning. When people are discussing an issue, and sharing different points of view, a facilitator might ask each party to “ground” their point of view with data or concrete examples.

Either way you approach this - checking your data against experience, or checking your experience against data - there’s something here that I find pretty compelling. So today’s tip: Check your insights or assumptions, ground your truths in data, and check your interpretation of data with communities and people with lived experience.

One concrete way to do this as part of evaluation (and really throughout the whole of your work), is to engage stakeholders at key moments:

  • During the problem definition phase - what is the problem you’re trying to address?
  • Getting feedback and input into the design of your initiative
  • Planning your evaluation, including identify key evaluation questions, and choosing methods
  • During the analysis phase to hear their insights
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