What is evaluation?

Evaluation is the process we use to find out whether a project can meet, or has met its aims. It will be led by the core values of the organisation or project.  It should be informed by a ‘theory of change’, that is, an understanding of how an activity may be linked with its outputs and outcomes, or why what is done has the effect you observe that it does.

It may be useful to think about what evaluation is not.  It involves more than just collecting and reporting monitoring information about a project. Although evaluation findings can be powerful when advocating for a project, it is important not to confuse the two, because evaluation will ask and answer questions and reveal impacts that may be both positive and negative. And evaluation and research are also different.  Research usually seeks to generate new knowledge, while evaluation generally judges an existing service.