The Program Evaluation KnowledgeBase

Element 1: Plan the Evaluation

Purpose: Planning how to conduct a program evaluation is the essessential the first step. The preparatory thinking involves understanding the program being evaluated, organizing an evaluation team, and determining how to conduct the evaluation. Element 1 outlines the pre-planning tasks.

Activity 1: Understand Evaluation

Activity 2: Organize Evaluation Team

Activity 3: Establish Evaluation Focus

Task 3: Develop Evaluation Questions


Guideline: Evaluation is a critical component throughout the life of a program or project. In planning the evaluation determining the questions to ask is an important step. As a program or project evolves through its life cycle, different questions might be asked at different life stages. Questions to address over the life of a program or project as suggested in the W. K. Kellogg Foundation's Evaluation Handbook include:

1. "What do you want your project to accomplish?
2. How will you know if you have accomplished your goals?
3. What activities will your project undertake to accomplish your goals?
4. What factors might help or hinder your ability to accomplish your goals?
5. What will you want to tell others who are interested in your project?"

Creative Thinking Tools - The Six Thinking Hats

Individual group members often have divergent viewpoints. Edward de Bono's Six Thinking Hats is a system fostering collaboration, increased productivity, creativity, and innovation. The concept enables participants in a discussion to move from the traditional argumentative approach to a collaborative process and fosters a more productive dialog. The document provides an overview of the tool and additional resources about it.


Developing Evaluation Questions

The National Science Foundation's User Friendly Handbook for Mixed Method Evaluations offers guidance on developing evaluation questions. This section includes five worksheets that take an evaluation team or evaluator through a process for developing questions. The worksheets are provided in PDF form for easy printing and reproduction.

Brainstorming Techniques that Work

The resource from EffectiveMeetings.com offers a list of nine practical tips that will help you have brainstorming sessions that generate results.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Evaluation Handbook

This handbook provides a model for program evaluation developed by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.

Element 2: Implement the Evaluation

Purpose: Conducting the evaluation involves designing data collection so the analysis and interpretation will answer the questions the evaluation sets out to resolve. When developing and implementing the evaluation design be flexible to collect and analyze data from many perspectives. The collected data should be attentive to the evaluation questions. Element 2 outlines the tasks associated with implementing the evaluation.

Activity 1: Data Collection

Activity 2: Understanding the Data

Activity 3: Report the Results

Element 3: Use the Results

Purpose: The evaluation's findings and recommendation have limited value unless they are shared with the stakeholders and utilized to improve the evaluated program. Using the results to improve the evaluated program and communicating with constituencies are activities that occur in parallel. Element 3 outlines the tasks associated with using the results.

Activity 1: Communicate with Constituencies

Activity 2: Use Results to Improve