| A basic guide to evaluation for development workers |
If you are contemplating evaluation, it may help to clarify your thinking if you work through this list of questions.
Is it an evaluation you want?
Why do you want to do an evaluation? Why is an evaluation being called for? Is it really an evaluation that needs to be done? Maybe some other exercise would be more appropriate: management review; problem-solving exercise; financial audit; skills training; research-assessment of needs.
2 For whom ?
Who is asking for the exercise? Who are the key parties who have an interest in the exercise? Are they one and the same?
What is it that is to be evaluated? What are the key questions—and who is interested in these? Is it a realistic task?
4 How will it be done?
As a participatory exercise, perhaps with an external 'facilitator'? As an external quantitative evaluation?
As an external evaluation focusing on qualitative aspects? Or some combination of the above?
5 Who will do it?
Who will be in charge of the exercise, coordinate it, make sure it happens?
Who decides the process/form of the evaluation?
Who is going to do the actual evaluation: an outsider; a team from outside; some outsiders together with those involved in the work to be evaluated; or the team involved themselves?
Who chooses who is going to do the exercise?
Should you be advertising if you need external help? Where are you looking?
Are there people within the organisation who have the skills that you are looking for?
How will people taken on especially for the work be contracted or seconded? Who has to do this?
Have you considered the male/female balance in the team?
Have the evaluators got the expertise for the type of evaluation you want?
6 Terms of reference
Do you need to draw up terms of reference? How will these be drawn up?
Who is responsible for drafting them?
How are you going to make sure that all key actors are enabled to feed in their concerns and ideas?
How will you ensure that gender considerations are clearly stated? Who will have final say in terms of what can and can't be looked at? To whom should the draft be circulated to for comments/ information?
How long will it take?
Have you allowed enough time to cover the whole exercise; to allow for a full planning process; pre-visits or studies that should be made, and preliminary research; the main research period; report writing; feedback, discussion and implementation of recommendations; workshops to disseminate findings more widely?
What are the key questions (how have these been defined)? What are the information sources?
How accessible are they?
What ground work needs to be done in preparation? How will information be collected?
How will it be analysed?
How will findings be communicated and to whom?
Will there be a report? In what format? For whom? Who will compose it?
Will there be an initial circulation list already agreed to see and discuss the first draft?
Will there be other kinds of feedback? For/by whom? What form (workshop/seminar)?
9 How much will it cost?
When you are budgeting for the exercise have you taken full account of all the expenses to be incurred?
What resources are needed (human, financial, infrastructure, administrative)?
Who is going to finance the exercise, from what budget?
10 Planning and management
What needs to be done by whom, by when?
Have you considered what the constraints might be and how you can minimise or overcome them (seasons, weather, public, holidays, political events, hidden agendas and sensitivities)? Is what you want to evaluate in an 'evaluable' state? Will you be constrained by lack of time or money?
What procedures have been worked out to solve any question of conflict in relation to the Terms of Reference, method, outcome, follow-up?
How will you evaluate the evaluation exercise (design, process, implementation, follow-up, effort expended against results and costs).