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Evaluation types and questions

Evaluation types are distinguished by the nature of the questions they attempt to answer. It is important to begin an evaluation by being clear on what is wanted from the evaluation. Projects and programmes involve a number of elements and so many evaluation projects will involve more than one of these types. There are other frameworks which can provide ideas as to the scale and levels of programme intensity to be considered by stakeholders. As the diagram below shows different evaluation approaches can be used to measure different parts of the overall project or change intitiative.

Figure: A project plan and how different evaluation types and approaches can be used to measure progress through different stages of implementation (Adapted from Taylor-Powell 2008 PDF icon)

The questions set out here are adapted from the Council on Foundations website.

  • A practical guide for engaging stakeholders in developing evaluation questions PDF icon In this report Hallie Preskill and Nathalie Jones describes a five-step process for engaging stakeholders in developing evaluation questions, and includes four worksheets and a case example to further facilitate the planning and implementation of your stakeholder engagement process. The report recognises that one way to ensure the relevance and usefulness of an evaluation is to develop a set of evaluation questions that reflect the perspectives, experiences and insights of as many relevant individuals, groups, organizations, and communities as possible. As potential users of the evaluation findings, their input is essential to establishing the focus and direction of the evaluation. By soliciting the opinions, interests, concerns and priorities of stakeholders early in the evaluation process, the results are more likely to address stakeholders’ specific information needs and be useful for a range of purposes, among them to improve program effectiveness, to affect policy decisions and/or to instigate behavioral change.