ESS Evaluation Support Manager Nicola Swan talks about why having an evaluation plan is useful and how to make one.
Creating an evaluation plan
- When you have identified your outcomes and chosen specific indicators this is a good time to start creating an evaluation plan.
- An evaluation plan is a document that plans how you will evaluate your project or organisation. It often takes the form of a grid and it pulls together all the information you will need to start your evaluation.
- In your plan we suggest you set out the indicators for each outcome and then work out how you are going to gather the information you need, in other words what methods you’ll use. It’s also useful to include columns setting out who will collect the data and when/where they will do this. This helps members of the team clearly see their roles and responsibilities in relation to collecting data. So, it’s a good way of embedding evaluation as well as making sure there aren’t any gaps in data collection.
- Having a plan like this can help ensure that your evaluation is manageable. You will soon notice if you are planning to use a new method for every single indicator! By using a plan you can start to see how you might be able to collect evidence for a range of different indicators using the same method. For example, an evaluation wheel can help collect evidence from a range of indicators and outcomes.
- Having an evaluation plan makes life a lot easier when you come to analyse your evidence. You will already know where to go or who to approach for evidence, and how it relates to your outcomes and indicators. It’s useful across all stages of self-evaluation – from setting outcomes to reporting.
- As with any tool you can tailor it to meet your needs.