An introduction to evaluation

At Evaluation Support Scotland (ESS) we promote self-evaluation. By learning how to evaluate your own activity you will discover what works or doesn’t, and how to make use of that learning to measure the difference you are making.

Our focus is on outcomes. But we do not promote a single evaluation tool. We encourage different and creative ways to engage people in evaluation.

What is self-evaluation?


  • Is effective for demonstrating impact
  • Is often better value than external evaluation
  • Is rigorous when well designed
  • Can be more accessible for service users
  • Helps you learn

We believe evaluation should be valuable, relevant and proportionate. What this means is that evaluation should:

  • Generate learning to improve policy, practice and service design.
  • Tell us what doesn’t work as well as what does.
  • Be built into the way people and organisations work: evaluation is part of practice and practice is part of evaluation.
  • Be for everyone – all sizes and types of organisation can improve their self-evaluation processes.
  • Be supported – organisations should have access to training and support to build their skills.

We produced a number of case studies highlighting some of the benefits of evaluation.  If you would like more information or would like to share how your organisation has benefited from evaluation, please contact us.

Check out our resources here and browse blogs.

Get started learning about evaluation

Evaluation Pathway

Navigating the evaluation pathway is one way of getting started or checking that you are progressing.

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