Types of Evaluation
There are two main types of evaluation; evaluation that measures the success of a project in achieving its outcomes (summative) and evaluation that measures if a project accomplished its goals (formative). Both are often used simultaneously in project evaluation.
Evaluation Planning can be broken down into three main steps. A logic model helps visualize this by clearly stating a project’s inputs, outputs, and outcomes.
Step One: Identify Evaluation Objectives
The desired outcomes of your study/project directly translate to your evaluation objectives. Outcomes are divided into short- medium- and long-term regardless of the length of the study/project. Long-term outcomes (ultimate impacts) should always be provided even if they will not be measured during the timeframe of the funded project.
Step Two: Define Indicators
Indicators help us define short- medium- and long-term outcomes in terms of measurable change. What change is being measured depends on the goals of the project/study. Indicators for short-term outcomes generally measure changes in knowledge, medium-term indicators measure changes in behavior, and long-term indicators measure changes in conditions.
Step Three: Evaluation Methods
Developing an evaluation design will help determine what type of evaluation methodology and data collection instruments will best answer the questions posed in step two. No two evaluation designs are the same, even if the projected project outcomes appear similar. How you collect and analyze your data depends on the criteria you use to measure your success.
Step Four: Share!
Sharing your findings through presentations and publications is arguably the most important step! Disseminating successful evaluation designs is equally important as project outcomes/findings.