May Johnstone

B Sc, PhD
OU Effective Manager
Member UK Evaluation Society

I’ve always enjoyed asking questions, exploring perspectives and collating the results into a cohesive whole.

From school Projects I progressed through an undergraduate dissertation using pollen analysis to profile the prehistoric vegetation of Ilkley Moor, to my PhD which assessed the suitability of Scottish lochshores for a range of recreational activities. Research has continued to run as a thread through most of my career.

My research skills ended up blending with: business development, writing and training, to form a solid skills base for evaluating projects.

  • My experience of business development, while working with HIDB (now HIE) and the Scottish Enterprise Foundation, gives me an understanding of the context for project management and development.
  • My training experience, while working for SCOTVEC and as a freelance trainer, helps immeasurably when objectives need to be reviewed or rationalised, and enables me to provide training or coaching in evaluation skills, and facilitate stakeholder workshops.
  • My writing experience helps me produce well-structured, easy-to-read questionnaires, reports and presentations. And some of the topics I’ve written about, such as evaluation, policy statements and leadership, inform my evaluations.

Now, with expertise in a range of survey methods, analysis, interpretation and report writing, I can help you to: plan your project research, decide who is best placed to carry out each of the steps involved, and contribute to any stage where you need help or someone else to carry out the work. I often draw in one of my Associates to give a broader range of skills, also because it’s much more productive and fun working together!

My progression from independent evaluations to participatory evaluation mirrors that of the broader evaluation field. It enables me to pass on the skills and experience I’ve learned to project staff, so they are better equipped to do their own evaluations.

For over twenty years I’ve run my own consultancy which developed organically from: writing open learning modules, through designing and running short training workshops, to researching ‘Project Perspectives’.

My professional journey started with a PhD in Geography from Glasgow University, and moved through research and tourism development for the (then) Highlands and Islands Development Board, managing an Open Learning Project for the Scottish Vocational Education Council, and a Senior Lectureship at the Scottish Enterprise Foundation. For several years I tutored the Open University and Henley Effective Manager courses. To me variety is the spice of life, and there’s plenty of variety in the research I carry out!

If you’d like to get in touch, please Contact me from the sidebar.