Search form

Section 1. Choosing Questions and Planning the Evaluation

What do we mean by choosing questions?

___Evaluation questions are the questions your evaluation is meant to answer about your work

___Evaluation questions help set the direction of the work, as well as assess its effectiveness

___Ideally, choosing evaluation questions is part of the planning of the overall program

Questions to ask yourself as you choose evaluation questions:

___What do you want to know?

___Why are you interested?

___Is the issue you’re addressing important to the community or to the society? 

___How does the issue relate to the field?

___Is the issue general, rather than specific to your population or community?

___Who might use the results of your evaluation? 

___Whose issue is it?

Why is it necessary to choose evaluation questions carefully?

___It helps you understand what effects different parts of your effort are having

___It makes you clearly define what it is you’re trying to do

___It shows you where you need to make changes

___It highlights unintended consequences

___It guides your future choices

___In participant evaluations, it involves stakeholders in setting the course of the program, thus making it more likely that it meets community needs

___It provides focus for the evaluation and the program

___It determines what needs to be recorded in order to gather data for evaluation

When should you choose questions and plan the evaluation?

___If possible, choosing questions and planning the evaluation should be an integral part of planning your program

___If your reality makes that impossible, choosing questions and planning the evaluation should take place as soon as possible after the program starts

Who should be involved in the process?

___To the extent possible, the process should involve all stakeholders, including program participants and beneficiaries

How do you choose questions?

___Describe the issue or problem you’re addressing

___Describe the importance of the problem

___Describe those who contribute to the problem

___Assess the importance and feasibility of changing those behaviors

___Describe the change objective

___Make sure that the expected changes would constitute a solution or substantial contribution to the problem

How do you plan the evaluation?

___Take into account the issues raised by multiple or very different settings

___Take into account the issues raised by participant groups that differ in culture, ability to complete the program, geographical location, and other factors

For outside evaluators, specifically:

___Choose a setting

___Learn as much as you can about the organization you’ve chosen

___Contact the appropriate person(s) and request an interview

___Plan and prepare for the initial meeting

For all evaluators:

___Find out all you can about the context

___Establish trust with program administrators, staff, and participants

___Aim for a participatory evaluation

___Plan the evaluation in collaboration with stakeholders

Consider all the elements of an evaluation in your planning:

___Information gathering and synthesis

___Designing an observational system

___Developing and testing a prototype intervention

___Selecting an appropriate experimental design

___Collecting and analyzing data

___Gathering and interpreting ethnographic information

___Collecting and using archival data

___Encouraging participation throughout the research

___Refining the intervention based on the evaluation

___Preparing the evaluation results for dissemination