5 Steps for Effective Evaluation Planning
By: Cindy Banyai, Ph.D.
Project management requires research and data collection on process and outcomes. Evaluation is the systematic collection and assessment of information related to the outcomes, operations or processes of a project. The main purposes of evaluation are improving administrative operations, learning and providing results, and accountability. Devising an evaluation plan is the best way to make it a routine part of your management strategy.
Items you will need:
- Target project
- Evaluation facilitator
- Logic framework
- Evaluation schedule
- Evaluation tools
- Feedback mechanisms
Steps for Effective Evaluation
- Understand the evaluation environment. Determine the objective and target group. Identify key and periphery stakeholders, organizational culture, and social norms relevant to the evaluation objective. These factors determine the specific methodology and approach of your evaluation plan.
- Create a logic model. It explains how and why a project’s activities are expected to lead to desired outcomes. A logic model connects activities to goals, clarifies intentions and becomes the structure of the evaluation.
- Determine benchmarks and indicators. Indicators must be SMART–specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Your benchmarks and indicators determine the tools needed to evaluate them.
- Outline an evaluation schedule. Include an ex-ante evaluation (feasibility study) before project launch, monitoring (mid-term and terminal evaluations) during project implementation, and an ex-post evaluation (impact assessment) after project completion.
- Pick evaluation tools. There are “toolbox” evaluations that provide worksheets and templates to follow, or create your own tools using quantitative – e.g. surveys and document reviews, and qualitative approaches – e.g. interviews and participatory photography.
Tips & Warnings
- Hire an evaluation expert to help you prepare and execute your plan.
- You need flexibility in your evaluation plan to deal with unexpected issues.
- Organize and disseminate evaluation results, otherwise, evaluation is a pointless, time-consuming, and expensive activity.
- “Evaluation”; Carol H. Weiss; 1998
- Japan International Cooperation Agency: Evaluation Guidelines
- “Evaluation for Improvement”; Pamela J. Cox, PhD, Dana Keener, PhD ,Tiffanee L. Woodard, MFT, Abraham H. Wandersman, PhD; 2009
- AusGUIDElines – The Logical Framework Approach; June 2003
- American Evaluation Association
- “Glossary of Key Terms in Evaluation and Results Based Management;” OECD; 2010
Dr. Cindy Banyai is the Chief Strategist at IOD. Dr. Cindy Banyai received her Master’s and Ph.D. from Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Japan where her research focused on community development, public administration, evaluation, and governance.
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