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Planning for Broader Impacts

Broader Impacts (BI) are evidence of how research, teaching, and outreach conducted by universities benefits society. Funding agencies increasingly emphasize BI as essential criteria for funding grants. The National Alliance for Broader Impacts (NABI) created a set of Guiding Principles and Questions to consider when putting together federally funded proposals.

Evaluation specialists work with project leaders from the idea stage of project development, serving as a member of the management team to develop the evaluation plan based on the Request for Application requirements, project goals, and objectives. Evaluation specialists write the evaluation plan according to donor agency conditions, including the logic model, and conduct all phases of the evaluation and educational research, including securing Institutional Review Board approval for interaction with human subjects. Evaluation specialists will collaborate with the project leaders to compose quarterly, mid-term, and final reports for donors and disseminate project results through appropriate communication channels, including peer-reviewed journals.

Evaluation specialists assist project directors in maximizing BI by providing comprehensive evaluation plans in partnership with the project team to document BI for externally funded projects. Evaluators design evaluation frameworks (theory of change, logic models, establishing indicators, monitoring plans, data collection, and analysis) and implement the proposed plan (needs assessments, feasibility studies, process and outcome evaluations, and concept mapping) for funded projects.

In addition, competitive grants may require educational outreach programs to target a specific audience along-side scientific discovery. Evaluation specialists can contribute to this requirement and may assist in program development; including program planning and implementation of appropriate educational experiences to meet program objectives. The following are some of the services provided by IEU:

Research

  • Comprehensive monitoring and evaluation design
  • Case studies
  • Survey instrument design
  • Interviews and focus groups
  • Site visits
  • Data analysis, visualization, and reporting

Strategic planning

  • Logic model development
  • Needs assessments

Public Service/Outreach/Extension and Education

  • Conduct workshops to build evaluation capacity
  • Logic modeling
  • Program development
  • Aligning appropriate teaching/delivery practices with audience and situation
  • Participatory practices
  • Stakeholder inclusion
  • Connecting with diverse populations

Budgeting for Evaluation

Cost of evaluation is based on the level of services needed and will be agreed upon by the project leaders as part of the statement of work. Allowable costs for evaluation and educational outreach services are included in the RFA guidelines and fall between 7%-10% of the total project cost. Impact Evaluation Unit services include writing the evaluation plan and logic model at the proposal stage so that the work plan is included in the client’s grant proposal.

Documents to Support Documenting Broader Impacts in STEM Education

Broadening Perspectives on Broadening Participation in STEM, National Science Foundation

Broadening Perspectives Toolkit