Using Intuition in Evaluation

Using Intuition in Evaluation


This photo shows cards being used for a collective induction task. Image by and uploaded by Michaelbraun to Wikimedia Commons.

Perhaps because we’ve been working on a proposal to evaluate someone’s project, I’ve been contemplating what smart things we have to say on the subject.

Generally, intuition comes into play at three points when you are doing an evaluation of something:

  1. The beginning
  2. The middle
  3. The end.

I’m not (just) being a smartass. I actually think there are three main ways to use your intuition when you evaluate. And I think this is something few talk about and we are qualified to talk about. So here goes. See what you think. Have I made this useful to you? Evaluate!

Intuition helps your evaluation start out well

The point of calling it “intuition” is that it is not knowledge defined as coming from outside yourself. INtuition by definition comes from within. While it’s subjective, so is every kind of knowledge. (More on that if you ask me about it but beware if you do, I really have a lot to say on that topic.)

Subjective doesn’t mean false.

Getting my PhD, I was always frustrated that this type of knowledge wasn’t even referred to. Beneath being important, it was not even considered worthy of notice.

Yet whenever I begin to evaluate anything, I check in with my intuition. Don’t you?

I check in to assess whether I am including all the important factors. Whatever they are. If I want them assessed by the end of the process, they need to be there in the beginning! (Duh, I know.)

So intuition helps you start out well when you begin an evaluation of anything.

Intuition helps you evaluate your evaluating

This is so basic, you will think I am just repeating myself, and I am, but again, these things are routinely left out of what is considered important in evaluation and even important as knowledge, period. So I’m making sure you remember: checking in with your intuition while you are in the process of an evaluation–whether it takes 5 seconds or 5 semesters–will again help you remember stuff you left out, and help you use techniques, tools, or processes you might have forgotten to use when you started out evaluating.

Intuition helps you understand the end of the evaluation

“End” in this case is a pun:

  • Intuition helps you understand when you’ve reached the end of your evaluation.
  • And intuition helps you understand the end you have reached

Again, whether this is a 5-second snap decision or whether it is a program assessment you design and implement (and hopefully self-evaluate) in graduate school or business or the nonprofit sector, checking in with your intuition sidelines biases that creep in when you are trying (too) hard to be objective.

It allows your smarter mind to weigh in and nudge you toward what’s important you might otherwise have left out. Like: am I done? Or not so done? Even if I want to be done–am I done? Has it been exhaustive (enough)?

It also allows you to see what the point of it all was–the end in that sense. To remember why you bothered and what questions you were hoping to get answered in the first place.


There are lots of other ways to use intuition when you evaluate, but these are the big three. Talk amongst (y)ourselves here–what’s your experience with this? No evaluation process too great or too small to address in these “pages.”

Love! and intuition.


  • BJ Appelgren
    Posted at 13:29h, 26 March Reply

    [From Beth, about this comment: BJ is a skilled teacher of many arts, see her website you get to by clicking on her name. The class she refers to inspires people to trust their intuition with a specific experiment which involves “reading” with your intuition an object you have never seen that someone else has brought to class for this purpose, and seeing what information you “read” about it.

    This is quite relevant to the post we’ve published, when you think about it. Our post doesn’t talk about how to cultivate your intuition. We just assumed you knew how to use it.

    BJ is discussing the details of what can come up when you try to teach people to trust–that is, cultivate–their intuition. I just wanted to explain this before you read the comment! Thanks, all, and thanks, BJ!]

    The Intuition discussion and experiment i’m holding tonight in the Adult Ed program is a very short span of time, perhaps too short for people to get a little flavor of their own intuition. That’s the concern/assessment that showed up this morning in meditation.
    I think the main thing is to ask people not to censor anything that comes to them about the objects others have brought. In my own experience i see that some people will pick up on information about the owner, some on the object’s manufacture, and some on the chest of drawers that the object is usually stored away in.
    And this is just in what we’ll possibly experience in a little over an hour. Having spent a full day attending a workshop with numerous exercises and over 500 people i began to see how often my intuition seemed to be “logical” associations but really were not. Just because one experiment partner of mine who i was assigned to pick up something about looked like a co-worker of mine who was an advocate for children with mental disabilities, there was really no reason to pick up an image of a barn with horses that I knew my co-worker had. I’d never seen either person’s home situation. The things i really knew about my co-worker from experience were all quite different. The workshop partner explained afterward that she was going through a reorganizing of her property and had special concern about the barn and horses.
    Have i digressed?

    • Beth
      Posted at 15:18h, 26 March Reply

      BJ, thank you so much for these detailed thoughts on how to cultivate intuition and what may come up when we try to!

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