DMD's core services include program evaluation, market/survey research, grant writing and project implementation/management. However, DMD personnel possess a skills set that is applicable to a variety of settings. Research and evaluation skills include both qualitative and quantitative expertise that can be applied to virtually the entire spectrum of needs. Strong verbal and written communications skills enable DMD to not only assist clients in research and evaluation efforts, but related planning and group facilitation activities. In addition to the skills of its personnel, DMD has an expansive network of contacts developed through years of previous work as higher education administrators, and now through its work as consultants working from coast to coast and internationally. DMD personnel are members of the American Evaluation Association and adhere to its Guiding Principles for Evaluators and support its Statement on Cultural Competence in Evaluation.
DMD has conducted numerous multi-year, comprehensive projects assessing the impact of education, social, health and community programs on students, schools and communities. Examples of recent or current projects include the federally funded Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative (DOEd), the 21st Century Community Learning Centers after-school programs (DOEd) and the IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (NIH).
DMD employs a utilization-focused evaluation approach that is personal and situational – developing a strong working relationship in which DMD assists clients in determining the kind of evaluation they really need. In this process, DMD keeps clients focused on the real goals and objectives, emphasizing the identification of what they “need to know,” not what would be “nice to know.” Utilization-focused evaluation recognizes that what happens at the beginning of a study will determine the eventual impact long before the final reports are written. This is why DMD believes it is critical to be involved with a project even during its planning stages, and stresses formative evaluation components linked to the implementation of a project and its evaluation.
DMD provides market research to industry, non-profits and higher education, with studies ranging from customer satisfaction and market segmentation to employee satisfaction and original topical research. DMD works closely with clients to determine their needs in selecting the type of medium required for an optimum return, selecting from electronic, telephone and mail surveys, as well as key-informant interviews and focus groups. DMD can also conduct the secondary research of existing studies to make sure its research is at the forefront of a topic.
DMD staff members have personally written grants that have been funded for almost 14 million dollars, primarily from federal sources. In addition, DMD has developed evaluation plans and/or assisted with other grant proposals that have been funded for millions of dollars. With management and evaluation experience related to federally funded programs, DMD also has the expertise to assist in the full spectrum of program development, including the conceptualization of the program structure, budgeting, staffing, management, evaluation and implementation.
A new innovative service provided by DMD and its partner company, Victus Motion, is VED (Video Evaluation Documentary). As a supplement to the typical evaluation tools involving key informant interviews, focus groups, surveys and quantitative data collection and analysis, VED can be presented in living motion to document the initiation of a project, to record program implementation and on-going process, and to present end-of-project findings. Each documentary includes interviews with key actors, B-roll showing the context or setting of the documentary, sound/music, and comprehensive credits which include client and funding agency information. Filming, production, sound and post-production is done professionally to allow for showings to a variety of professional and stakeholder audiences. With PhD education/evaluation credentials, as well as real-world documentary credits, DMD/Victus Motion may be uniquely qualified to offer this service to the program evaluation community.
The production of a documentary has multiple uses in the evaluation world – documentaries can set the stage for future work, benchmark a particular project, or serve as a capstone for just-completed work. In addition to documenting an initiative or program, a VED can enhance the impact of the message a client is trying to communicate to their various audiences, stakeholders and funders. While qualitative in nature, documentary productions engage audiences in ways that written reports and PowerPoint decks cannot.
Following are links to VED’s produced by DMD/Victus Motion’s Dean Schieve, the first one featuring an educational partnership involving schools in Minnetonka, MN, and in the Awutu Mankessim region of Ghana. This public television documentary is an example of how a VED can be used in the early stages of a project, illustrating how the combined audio and video components offer a vitality of action and process that is difficult to present using only written messaging. The second VED illustrates how the accomplishments of a project can be expressed in the words of those who have been impacted. The link to the documentary “Minnetonka to Ghana, Bridging an Ocean with Education” can be found at the following website link: https://vimeo.com/117935332. The link to “Becoming a Scientist: Stories from Nebraska” can be found at: https://vimeo.com/169197651.
For more information on VED and how it can be used for your evaluation project, contact Dean Schieve at DMD/Victus Motion.