Evaluation helps local government adapt programs, learn from what works, and make decisions about future programming,

Getting started

If you are trying to decide if an evaluation is right for you or would like to get started, consider the steps below:

1. Clarify what will be evaluated

It’s important to first be able to provide a succinct statement about what exactly you intend to evaluate. This may include details about the context, the program itself, the timeline, the methodology, and/or the funding.

For more info, see Better Evaluation’s page on clarifying your evaluation here.

2. Engage stakeholders

Stakeholders typically include those involved in the implementation of the program, those who are impacted by the program, and those that will be using the result so the evaluation.

For more info, see  CDC’s guide to engaging stakeholders here.

3. Assess resources and feasibility

To assess available resources and feasibility it’s important to first understand what’s already available including existing data/findings and individuals with the skills and time to implement the work. From there you can identify what additional resources will be needed to complete your evaluation.

For more info, see  Better Evaluation’s summary on assessing resources and feasibility here

4. Create a logic model

A logic model is a visual representation of the relationships between program components and evaluation outcomes. It helps identify key evaluation questions and strategies.

For more info, see Pell Institute Guide to Creating a Logic Model.

5. Draft evaluation questions

Evaluation questions will guide the overall strategy of your evaluation. They should focus on what specific aspects of your program you are interested in evaluating.

For more info, see Western Michigan University’s Evaluation Question Checklist

6. Determine how to answer eval questions

After you’ve identified your evaluation questions, you’ll need to identify the type of data you’ll need to collect to answer your questions. Your methods may include surveys, focus groups, document reviews, and/or case studies, among others.

For more info, see the Pell Institute’s Evaluation Toolkit

7. Develop an evaluation plan

An evaluation plan will hep you clarify the overall direction and strategy of your evaluation and will help you identify priorities and needed resources. It will include a description of the program, the focus and methods of your evaluation, the analysis plan and information on how findings will be disseminated.

For more info, see the CDC’s guide on Developing an Effective Evaluation Plan