Spring Newsletter
In Brief
3 Easy Steps for Making Your Survey Collection a Success

Surveys are a wonderful tool for gauging the effect something has had on an individual, but that can only happen if you've got plenty of data! We recently collected data at nine different stops on the Boston's subway system (the MBTA) and we have three pieces of advice for intercepting people. These are especially useful if you're looking to evaluate PSA campaigns or are conducting surveys at science fairs, festivals, cultural events, or museums!


1. Invest in swag.
Several cost effective ways to add legitimacy to any field researcher's wardrobe include name badges, pins and buttons with the company's name, and bright posters on the back of your clipboards. We were able to print and laminate a lot of these in-house. If your budget is bigger, we also recommend investing in a plastic sawhorse and big, brightly colored posters. These can grab attention and also allow you explain the project quickly. Finally, if your budget and client allow them, stipends are always a great incentive!


2. Know your locations.
This was especially important for the various MBTA stops, some of which had multiple entrances and exits. Do more people use the north exit in the morning, but the south entrance in the afternoon? Are people more likely to stop by and add value to their bus pass at the machines on the first of the month? Do some reconnaissance before you start collecting data and be prepared to adjust as you go, in order to make sure you're getting both a representative sample and the chance to talk to the most people.


3. Have fun.
Make it into a friendly competition between field researchers to see who can get the most surveys, play games to pass the time, or even strategize over the best locations to stand and collect data. Potential participants can tell when you're not excited about your project, so this is definitely the time to fake it until you make it!


Have an evaluation topic you'd like to get advice on? Email and let us know! You might see it in next season's newsletter!

Spring 2015  
A Message from the President

Spring Forward...Fall Back 


Twice a year we have to remember which way to set the clock for the start and finish of daylight savings time. This spring was a particularly gratifying time change, with the sun still out at 5 pm, especially after our very tough New England winter. The time change coincided with my annual STATE OF THE COMPANY presentation to the GRG staff - an opportunity to look back at the fiscal and general health of GRG, while looking forward to our continuing agenda and priorities.  We completed 2014 (our 25th year in business!) in good health, having started, continued, or completed an impressive range of research and program evaluation projects. This was due, in large part, to the continuing engagement of every GRGer to produce excellent results by contributing our individual and collective strengths. Here's a look back at some of our accomplishments.

We used new and/or improved methods, contexts, and tools, such as momentary time sampling in classrooms using tablets and iPads; social network analysis; large-scale neighborhood house-to-house intercept survey with population sampling; data collection at Boston subway stations; collection and analysis of video data; intercepting visitors at cultural events. We transitioned to a better online survey platform and provided more sophisticated data visualization in reports.

We studied expanded and/or new content/models: such as perceptions of one's neighborhood; financial literacy/savings habits; education and mentoring of refugee youth;  an NSF center assisting STEM learning projects; whole-school change; a tobacco control collaborative across nine towns; scholarship programs for non-traditional college students; multiple art museum engagements; working with clients on logic modeling and theory of change.

We have the same commitment to quality as always: We've helped clients clarify their goals, educated them about the role of evaluation, helped make evaluation a central focus of their programs, and helped them build evaluation capacity. We're pleased when our clients get as excited about the data, results, and recommendations as we do. We promise never to fall back into a "same-old" routine; rather we spring forward with gusto. 

'Irene' signature
Night (and Day) in the Museum

What goes on inside a museum? GRG recently evaluated a series of videos from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (ISGM)'s Work-in-Progress, which were designed to give the average museum goer a glimpse at what goes on behind the scenes of the ISGM. By engaging visitors in specific topics (themes ranged from conservation to horticulture to textiles), the videos were able to make the museum more accessible and transparent, increase visitor comfort level, and help visitors make personal connections to works of art.

A Choir Book Comes to Life
A Choir Book Comes to Life



Want to see for yourself what's going on behind the ISGM's walls? You can check out all 12 videos here. 
College Access Continues to Grow as Scholarship Resources Target New Populations 
Evaluating scholarship programs can help scholarship providers examine their programs to determine whether they're accomplishing their goals as effectively as possible. Evaluation reveals what's working and what isn't, what aspects of the programs are most valued by recipients, and how to better support recipients. We recently finished several scholarship evaluations for our return client, The Ford Family Foundation, and are particularly impressed with their scholarship model, which provides not only monetary support but academic and emotional support, as well. While TFFF provides up to 90% of their Scholars' unmet need (and Scholars gratefully acknowledge their support), Scholars also mention how important the built-in social network, academic and career counseling, and TFFF-provided organizational tools were to their academic and professional success.

Scholarship programs like TFFF's are an important part of a larger conversation about college access, one that is occurring more often these days, as more and more Americans seek higher education. A key element of many of these conversations is increased access to community colleges. Whether students are using community colleges to get technical training and an associate's degree or as a pathway to transferring to a four-year college, many scholarship programs (including some programs at TFFF) are beginning to offer financial, emotional, and academic support to community college students. President Obama has expressed his support of strengthening the programming and support offered to community college students, with his recent proposal to provide tuition-free classes at community college for students going to school at least half time who maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher and are making steady progress toward a degree or transferring to a four-year institution. 

Another group of students who are often overlooked in scholarship programs are individuals who didn't take the traditional high school to four-year college pathway, but who are looking to earn a bachelor's degree later in life. Our recent evaluation of TFFF's Ford Opportunity and Ford ReStart scholarships, both of which aid non-traditional students at the community college, four-year college, and graduate school level, revealed that education continues to be a key component of professional and socioeconomic advancement.

Thank you for reading our newsletter! For more information about our exciting work, check out our website,

Find us on Facebook

 Follow us on Twitter
View our profile on LinkedIn