Program Evaluation FAQ

What is Program Evaluation?

A standard definition of program evaluation is it is a systematic appraisal of the efficacy and efficiency of a program or an intervention.

A simpler definition is it is a methodology to determine the merit of a program or project.

What are the different types of evaluation?

There are numerous forms of evaluation depending on the organisation's needs, individual expertise and stakeholder expectation. However, generally 4 forms of evaluation are widely accepted and employed:

  • 1) Formative Evaluation
  • 2) Process Evaluation
  • 3) Summative Evaluation and
  • 4) Impact Evaluation

Is there a particular way of conducting evaluation?

Based on stakeholder's expectations, different evaluation methodologies and methods can be employed. However, in most evaluations certain processes are expected to be completed including:

  • 1) Definition of problem or needs analysis
  • 2) Stakeholder mapping and involvement
  • 3) Program logic mapping
  • 4) Contextual description
  • 5) Formulation of evaluation questions
  • 6) Identification of appropriate method of data collection
  • 7) Data collection
  • 8) Data analysis
  • 9) Report writing and
  • 10) Presentation of results.

Is there a particular way to design the program logic?

This again depends on the evaluation methodology employed but internationally the 'CIPP' model is widely employed. CIPP stands for 'Context, Input, Process and Product'. 'Outcome' can replace the term 'Product'.

Is there a particular way of reporting evaluation findings

Various governments and their agencies provide templates for reporting of evaluation agencies. However, a very popular and widely accepted template for reporting of evaluation findings is that provided by the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC).

What is the difference between Program Evaluation and Compliance Audit?

The definition of a performance audit is ‘determination of the compliance of programs, activities and functions with predetermined standards’. Program evaluation, on the other hand, is ‘the systematic assessment of the effectiveness and efficiency of a program'

Audits are designed to be observational and not interventional. They are set-up to provide assurance that the service quality and delivery meets acceptable standards. However, audits are not designed to provide you with the answer ‘how and why’. This is addressed by program evaluations, which in addition to addressing this aspect, also if designed well answer ‘what and what next’? Ideally, evaluations are to be experimental and utilise a counter-factual too. Thus, evaluation designs adopt a more comprehensive approach.


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