An evaluation is an assessment of a policy, program or project and serves the purposes of learning and accountability. To achieve these purposes, evaluations need to be purposely designed to enhance their potential utility while at the same time ensuring rigor. This workshop will discuss the foundations of evaluation design. Designing influential and rigorous evaluations requires broad-based experience and knowledge of the practice of evaluation and its institutional context. Successful evaluation design is not a linear process; the aspects of potential evaluation use, scope and method are often intrinsically related. Nevertheless, an evaluation process can be usefully unpacked into a number of steps and associated tools and frameworks which can facilitate and enhance the design process. Building on the experience of real-world evaluation examples, the workshop will cover the following topics:
- Foundations of designing (influential and rigorous) evaluation: from evaluation planning to design, implementation and dissemination
- Principles of methodological quality in evaluation: focus, consistency, reliability, validity
- Purpose of the evaluation: evaluability and potential use
- Scope of the evaluation: program theory, boundaries, criteria and questions
- Methodological design: using a design matrix for simple and complex evaluations
- Practical tips for managing and designing evaluations under different institutional conditions
The workshop will have a strong practical orientation. Examples from evaluations in the field of international development will be used throughout the workshop to illustrate the content. The workshop will use a combination of short lectures, group exercises, and group and plenary discussions.
After this course, participants have developed a sound understanding of the foundations of evaluation design.
More specifically, participants will have a greater understanding of:
- The building blocks of evaluation design and how to apply appropriate tools and guidance
- The principles of methodological quality in evaluation and how to apply them
Evaluators (commissioners, policy makers). The workshop is intended to provide essential knowledge to professionals who are at the start of or in the early phases of their career in evaluation. However, more experienced evaluators may find the empirical examples as well as the frameworks and guidance discussed in the workshop helpful as well. Evaluation commissioners and policy makers may find the workshop helpful to develop a better understanding of the building blocks of evaluation design and the principles of methodological quality in evaluation. They may also find the workshop useful to deepen their understanding of evaluation methodology more generally.
Beginners and intermediate level. Some familiarity with the practice and process of evaluation is desirable.