Stephanie Evergreen ReBlog: Design of an award winning report

So long as we are going to write reports, we might as well make them heavy on the visuals and do everything in our power to make the report easy to navigate, especially in a mobile reading culture.

Stephanie Evergreen explains in this post how she worked with a Drexel University research team to use color as one of the ‘organizing principles’ of their award-winning report on autism. The outcome is simple, clean, and easy for others to replicate in their own work.

Read more of Stephanie’s work here, and read the autism report here after you check out the compelling use of graphs below to simply and concisely explain a series of complex trends. Moving toward increased readability and accessibility in our reports may also benefit audit teams, particularly when we are attempting to explain complex concepts in understandable terms.


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GAO WatchBlog Reblog: Strengthening the Federal Workforce (and Public Service Recognition Week!)


The first week of May is Public Service Recognition Week, honoring the people who serve the country—and the public. It’s also a time for us to examine federal agencies and the Office of Personnel Management’s efforts to hire, develop, and retain skilled employees. Read on for what we’ve learned since last May…


via Strengthening the Federal Workforce — WatchBlog: Official Blog of the U.S. Government Accountability Office

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Governing RePost: Why it’s getting harder to learn what the public thinks

Opinion research has helped government with planning and policymaking for decades. But the shifting technological landscape, along with changing demographics and lifestyles, are challenging conventional opinion-research techniques, making it more difficult to learn what the public thinks. Government officials need to become aware of these changes and their impacts on research methodologies, validity, statistical relatability, cost and project timelines.

Important decisions are often made with the support of public survey data, so it stands the reason that survey data would be reliable and accurate. Adam Davis, founder of DHM Research, questions that assumption in the attached Governing article, and discusses some new approaches and technologies that may improve upon current polling methods.

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TEDx Repost: Not sure what to think about something? Good.

“Certainty is preposterous,” says Milton Glaser (TED Talk: Using Design to Make Things New (see below)). “Fundamentally, one cannot be certain about anything.” Glaser, who doesn’t shy away from speaking plainly, prefers a mindset that embraces ambiguity. For the 86-year-old, this is “a basic tool for perceiving reality” — and a driving force throughout his storied career.

Auditors frequently deal with uncertainties and ambiguous, hard to define problems- upon which we are asked to make fairly certain and unambiguous recommendations. We view this one of our professional challenges, a barrier to increased efficiency and the full realization of agency and program missions. But can it also be seen as an opportunity for developing a much deeper understanding of complex topics, or even as an avenue for necessary change?

In the TED talk below, celebrated graphic designer Milton Glaser discusses using the ambiguities surrounding a historical subject to create a series of paintings that take a unique perspective on that subject. Read Tom Roston’s article about the TED talk here, or watch for yourself below:

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Governing Repost: Lessons from Georgia, the No. 1 Procurement State

In February, Governing released a report ranking 39 states based on their procurement policies. They were ranked in 10 categories, including their use of technology, how they engage with vendors and how effectively central procurement offices work with agencies.

Six states stood out as top performers: Georgia in the lead, followed by Virginia, Minnesota, Utah, and, tied for 5th place, Massachusetts and Ohio.

Why did Georgia stand out when it came to implementing effective procurement policies? Read more here in Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene’s interview with the deputy commissioner of the Georgia procurement office, Lisa Eason.

Where did Oregon rank, and what are its strengths? Read the original report by Liz Farmer here, or consult the graphic below:




Accountability and Media Featured Repost: How to be objective when you’re emotionally invested

Curious about applying objectivity to charged and difficult topics on which you yourself may hold strong personal opinions? Yes, even auditors have opinions (hey man, auditors are people, too), but how do you reconcile your opinions with objective fact to make wise decisions? provides a few pointers for keeping your head when personal biases threaten to intrude on your decision-making. In a nutshell;

  1. Realize Objectivity’s Limits
  2. Find Your Weak Spots
  3. Gather A Brain Trust
  4. Check Your Personality Type
  5. Invite Other Views

You may wind up at the same conclusion as before, or somewhere entirely different. In either case, applying objectivity can aid you in making wise and thoughtful decisions on difficult subjects.

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GAO WatchBlog Reblog: Counting Down to the 2020 Census


It’s “Census Day” (no fooling)! April 1st is the traditional start date of the decennial census. So each April 1st, “Census Day,” gets the Census Bureau one year closer to launch. The stakes are high as the Census Bureau ramps up for the next decennial count: the 2010 Census cost about $13 billion from start […]

via Counting Down to the 2020 Census — WatchBlog: Official Blog of the U.S. Government Accountability Office

Featured image courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau.

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