Effective Phrases for Evaluations
By Cindy Banyai, Ph.D.
The phrases used in evaluation depend on its objective, your field, your participants and your target audience. In a specific evaluation, questions are formulated to gather data on the indicators you choose based on your project’s logic framework. In this respect, important phrases include who, what, where, why, how, and how much. Aside from your question design, there are other key terms you need to know in order to conduct effective evaluations.
- You need to choose indicators to measure the progress of your project. The Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECD), an international body deeply involved in the evaluation, defines indicator as the “quantitative or qualitative factor or variable that provides a simple and reliable means to measure achievement, to reflect the changes connected to an intervention, or to help assess the performance.” Choose indicators to measure the relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact, and sustainability of your project.
- Developing a model based on the logical framework — a logic model — is pivotal for a comprehensive evaluation. It explains how and why a project’s activities are expected to lead to desired changes. Important terms in a logic model are end outcomes, intermediate outcomes, outputs, activities, and inputs. End outcomes are sometimes called objectives or goals. Intermediate outcomes define smaller goals and changes in target groups. Outputs are deliverables or results.
- The OCED defines results-based management as “a management strategy focusing on performance and achievement of outputs, outcomes, and impacts.” You are managing based on results if you develop a logic model and use it to guide the systematic evaluation of your project. In this approach, you establish benchmarks – reference points for assessment, to monitor and measure performance, and focus on your results chain – the logic in your model.
- Stakeholders are the agencies, organizations, groups or individuals that have a direct or indirect interest in the project or evaluation. Beneficiaries are stakeholders that gain directly or indirectly from the project. Partners, also stakeholders, work together with you to implement a project. Target groups are those that you wish to serve through your project and are important to the intermediate outcomes in your logic model.
- “Glossary of Key Terms in Evaluation and Results Based Management;” OECD; 2010
- Japan International Cooperation Agency: Evaluation Guidelines
- “The Evaluation Exchange”; Strategies for Assessing Policy Change Efforts: A Prospective Approach; Louie, Justin & Guthrie, Kendall ; 2007
- “DAC Criteria for Evaluating Development Assistance;” OECD
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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