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•    Purpose of evaluation/research – Why do it?

Just thinking of “research” or “evaluation” may give many people a headache. There is no doubt that these concepts can be complicated. Large amounts of statistics and reading are often involved in order to gain what may seem to be the smallest bit of information. The question must be asked then, “Why put so much hard work into research when there are things that can be done to make a difference now?” Research does not have to be seen as sitting down behind a desk being bored to death. When you truly care about what you are doing, it is nice to be able to get feedback on how well of a job you are doing. For example, UTurn created Sho Out so that others could become more aware of the real issues around self-harm and the resources that are available for those that are facing those challenges. How do we know, though, whether Sho Out really succeeded? This is the question that people are asking when they are looking to support UTurn or other organizations. People want to get behind something that is really making a difference and has proof of being able to do so. The best way to demonstrate that we are legit is to back it up with research. Evaluation allows for us to better understand what our strengths are, but also, what parts we need to work on. We can take what we learned from all of our hard work and change things up so that our weaknesses can become our strengths and so that we can we help more people. Sometimes we may be disappointed by the results, but we have a goal to aim towards. Let us be the best that we can be! Consider how you too can be a part of evaluation.