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The Harvard Family Research Project separated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education to become the Global Family Research Project as of January 1, 2017. It is no longer affiliated with Harvard University.

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Heather Weiss

Innovative uses of technology enable fast, global access to high quality information for help in gathering data, designing evaluations, and sharing resources to implement better services and supports for children and families.

Recognizing this new context for getting and using data, and committed to providing our readers with just-in-time information to improve practice, we devoted this issue of The Evaluation Exchange to technology's contribution to evaluation practice, as well as to how recent advances in knowledge management and communications are making evaluation information readily available for effective decision making and organizational learning. While framing this issue, we were struck by the powerful way technology is being used globally to design evaluations that promote inclusion and social justice; you will see several examples of this throughout the issue.

Partnering with us in this effort is our guest editor, Dr. Arnold Love, an internationally recognized independent consultant whose 20-plus years' experience in evaluation includes promoting the use of technology in the field. He opens our issue with a Theory & Practice that frames four key areas in which evaluators are using technology: data collection and analysis, collaboration, knowledge mobilization, and evaluation capacity building. Contributors for this issue provide concrete examples of evaluation's use in these four areas.

The issue continues with advice from experts on how to use technologies such as Internet surveys, online focus groups, and handheld wireless devices. Additionally, authors point to how technology can improve collaboration, which enhances evaluation planning and practice.

From a “one-stop shop” for the latest data and research on indicators of child and youth well-being to the use of multimedia for the evaluation of public services in India, this issue offers several domestic and international examples of how evaluators are using information and communications technology for knowledge mobilization.

Building evaluation capacity is a key use of technology for evaluation. Articles in this issue describe the challenges and solutions of using technology to create communities of practice, especially in countries with large populations and limited resources.

This issue includes a Special Feature section, inspired by conversations with Time Warner Inc. Office of Corporate Responsibility. This set of articles describes how youth programs are using technology to engage youth both in civic action and in participatory evaluation, and the challenges and benefits of using technology in youth programming and other settings.

With this issue we offer our readers strategies to harness the power of technology to promote child and family well-being through the dissemination of high quality research and evaluation information. We hope you will alert us to other examples of the ways in which technology is enhancing your evaluation capacity and, as always, we welcome your thoughts and contributions for future issues.

Heather B. Weiss, Ed.D.
Founder & Director
Harvard Family Research Project

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Published by Harvard Family Research Project