Evaluating at a distance

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we work. Many organisations have adapted face to face activities to online or remote delivery, and will perhaps continue to do in the future in order to reach more service users.

ESS initially developed this page to provide evaluation support at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but these resources can be useful to all organisations who are evaluating at a distance. Some of the method sheets and case studies were created specifically in response to COVID-19 challenges, but they can certainly be adapted to evaluate remote activities and services more broadly. We also signpost to our tried and tested resources that will help you evaluate at a distance, beyond COVID-19.

ESS Top tips for evaluating at a distance

  • Keep evaluation simple
  • Find successes to celebrate to keep us positive in tough times
  • Capture evidence now for reporting later
  • Record learning now that we can use in future

Find quick and easy ways to record:

  1. What you do
  2. Who with or for
  3. The difference you are making
  4. What you’re learning 

Useful resources to help you capture evidence: 

Methods and tools


  • Evaluating in a time of change – webinar

    This practical peer learning webinar is specifically targeted to third sector organisations or teams who are continuing to deliver during the Covid-19 pandemic and are facing change or challenges to their evaluation.

  • Learning from Evaluation – Recording of webinar/interview with ESS Director Steven Marwick about using data and learning to inform the future. Event ran by Corra foundation and Wren and Greyhound.

In 2020 Evaluation Support Scotland (ESS) supported eight projects affected by the COVID-19 crisis to evaluate and learn about their response to the crisis. The aim of this support was to strengthen their response and their recovery, by improving what they do or guiding future plans and strategies. This work was supported by the National Lottery Community Fund.

Crisis to Recovery Case Studies

Why Evaluate? Mini-Case Studies

Setting Outcomes case study

Peer learning



Still stitching…

ESS Depute Director Diane Kennedy talks about how our A Stitch in Time? series of resources can be helpful to third sector organisations in Covid-19 times A few years ago,


Focus on staying connected

ESS Depute Director Diane Kennedy writes about our A Sitch in Time resources that can help organisations evaluating services that aim to connect people. Iriss has recently produced an evidence review in

Other Resources

Remote evaluation support from ESS

Like many organisations, ESS adapted our face to face workshops and tailored support for remote delivery. See our pages below for more information.

We deliver workshops

We regularly deliver ‘starter’ workshops (under our Let’s Evaluate! programme) and topic specific workshops throughout the year.

We provide tailored support

ESS provides more in-depth evaluation support tailored to your organisation’s needs.

Please adapt any of our tools to meet your own needs – we’d just ask you to reference ESS. 

We’re here to help! Contact us for help and advice.