What is an evaluation framework or protocol?

When you have decided on your evaluation aims and questions, you can plan how you will go about answering them.  An evaluation framework or protocol describes what you are interested in evaluating and how you will go about doing it.  At this point you will also consider what resources you might need, how you will manage the data, what the ethical issues are, and how you are going to report on and disseminate your findings.

An outcomes framework may underpin all this planning. In arts and health terms we generally understand ‘outcomes’ to mean the changes, benefits, learning or other effects that can be attributed to a particular service or activity.  These are what you are seeking to measure.  An outcomes framework will clearly map each outcome to a set of indicators that will establish whether or not it has happened and a method of measurement. This is a clear and manageable way to understand how and what you will be evaluating.