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Core Course

The Core Course provides a comprehensive overview of what is evaluation and how to do it. Combining lectures, classroom activities, theory, and practice, the core course is structured to offer daily peer learning opportunities through small groups and using real-world evaluation examples.

The Core Course will take place in the first week of the On-Site program in Bern, July 10-14, 2023.

Recommended for

  • Level: Participants with no or little prior knowledge and experience in evaluation.
  • Position: Emerging Evaluators, mid-level and senior management, commissioners, policy makers, parliamentarians.
  • Work environment: NGOs, Public Administration Institutions, bi- and multilateral development partners, Think Tanks, Universities, private firms.
  • Objective: Participants gain a fundamental understanding of how to commission, manage, conduct and use evaluations.


Participants will be awarded an official IPDET Core Course participation certificate.

Core Course Learning Objectives

The participants know

  • about evaluation concepts, approaches and theories and their range of applications,
  • the different phases of an evaluation and related tasks of evaluators and commissioners,
  • how to scope and frame an evaluation,
  • how to define fundamental conceptual evaluation aspects (like: purpose, objectives, criteria, etc.),
  • about the influence of the social context on evaluations,
  • standards of evaluation and how to take them into account when planning and conducting an Evaluation,
  • about the designs, data collection and data analysis methods used in evaluation,
  • the requirements for a “good” evaluation report and target group-oriented communication and dissemination,
  • different kinds of use and how the use of evaluation results can be supported.
Watch the introduction into the IPDET Core Course by Reinhard Stockmann and Candice Morkel:
And also the insights we gave in our 2023 Kick-Off:

Core Course Content

Module 1: Introduction and Overview

Participants know about

  • the definitions, leading principles and concepts of M&E
  • the fundamental evaluation aspects to be defined:
    • objectives, purposes, tasks, intended use
    • perspective (formative, summative)
    • assessment criteria
    • implementation (internal, external)
  • the origin and purpose of evaluation in society
  • quality criteria, standards, code of conduct.

Module 2: Evaluation Process


  • know the steps of an evaluation process
  • understand the crucial function of the planning phase for assuring high quality evaluations
  • are acquainted with relevant aspects of the implementation phase
  • gain knowledge on adequate communication and other factors that affect evaluation use
  • understand the concept of use and its importance in evaluation

Module 3: Framing and Scoping the Evaluation

Participants know

  • how to frame the boundaries of an evaluation
  • identify an evaluation object
  • how to assess whether an intervention can be evaluated (assessment of evaluability)
  • how to write Terms of Reference
  • how to develop a Theory of Change
  • the difference between a TOC and a logical framework
  • how to develop key evaluation questions
  • the purpose and the elements of an inception report

Module 4: Context of Evaluations


  • Understand the importance of context in evaluation: how contextual issues influence an evaluation, and how evaluations may influence context
  • Reflect on advocacy, equity, race, gender and power and why these are important contextual issues in evaluation
  • Understand culturally responsive and appropriate, equitable and gender-responsive evaluations
  • Understand the importance of stakeholder mapping and how to identify stakeholder groups and their interests
  • Describe how interest and power might characterize stakeholder groups and influence an evaluation

Module 5: Theories and Evaluation approaches


  • know the difference between theories and approaches
  • know that evaluation approaches can be classified differently
  • know different evaluation approaches
  • are able to clarify different evaluation approaches
  • know the strengths and weaknesses of different evaluation approaches
  • have an idea about which evaluation approaches are appropriate for which tasks

Module 6: Overview of Designs, Data Collection and Data-Analysis Methods

Participants understand

  • the role of different forms of evaluation design and indicator development
  • the strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of using data collection methods and the need for triangulation
  • the opportunities of data analysis and interpretation and its limitations

They will be exposed to the following questions:

  • Evaluation Designs: What must be „designed“ in an Evaluation?
  • Data Collection: How can we collect data during an Evaluation?
  • Sampling: How many cases are necessary for appropriate answers?
  • Data Analysis: How can we analyse the data collected during an Evaluation?
  • Interpretation: What do the results mean for the evaluation question?

Module 7: Utilization and Reporting

Participants understand

  • the role of effective reporting and communication of evaluation results to support evaluation use
  • principles and elements of effective communication and dissemination strategies
  • the importance of and approaches to initiating management responses

“The Core Course organized in a systematic way the different purposes, views and processes of evaluation. It helped me clarify the broad spectrum of expectations and uses of evaluation.”

– Ligia Vasconcellos |Research Associate Insper Metricis | Brazil | IPDET 2019