How To Write An Evaluation Plan
There are two types of formal evaluation. One measures the product; the other analyzes the process. Summative Evaluation is a plan to evaluate the project that measures how will you have met your objectives. Formative Evaluation is a plan to evaluate the project during and after its execution. It can be used as a tool to make appropriate changes along the way. Either or both might be appropriate to your project. The approach you choose will depend on the nature of the project and its objectives. For either type, you will need to describe the manner in which evaluation information will be collected and how the data will be analyzed. You should present your plan for how the evaluation and its results will be reported and the audience to which it will be directed. For example, it might be used internally or be shared with the funder, or it might deserve a wider audience. A funder might even have an opinion about the scope of this dissemination. Remember: If you are having a problem developing your evaluation process, you better take another look at your objectives.
Before you begin ask yourself:
· It’s important to describe in your proposal exactly how you will decide whether or not your project has been successful, achieved its objectives, etc. The Evaluation Plan will tell the prospective funding agency how you will be going about showing them at the end of the project that their investment in you was a good one.
· Try to include both a concern for formative evaluation/process evaluation (ways to gain feedback on the project while it is being conducted) and summative evaluation/product evaluation (ways to show that the project fulfilled that which was originally proposed). Another way of conceptualizing this is that formative evaluation/process evaluation is concerned with the activities of the project. On the other hand, summative evaluation/product evaluation is concerned with the stated objectives of the project.
· It is easy to create a summative evaluation/product evaluation plan if you have done a good job of clearly stating your project objectives or expected outcomes.
· Make direct reference to your objectives in your evaluation plan. This creates a strong sense of integration/consistency within your proposal. The reader of your proposal will now be hearing the same message repeated in different sections of your proposal.
· Try creating two separate evaluation plans – one for formative evaluation and the other for summative evaluation.
· A good evaluation plan should include some sense of concern for what goes on following the conclusion of the funding period. How will the initiatives that have been started under the project be sustained? Have new things occurred that will be continued in the future? How will other cooperating agencies assist in continuing the project after the conclusion of the funding period? These and other areas should be included in a viable evaluation plan.
· Evaluation Instrument – If appropriate, include a draft copy of the actual evaluation instrument you plan to use (survey, questionnaire, interview guide, etc.). This will let your prospective funding agency know that you are serious about making evaluation an integral part of your project – and funding agencies like to hear this! Indicate DRAFT at the top of the instrument and then make it look as real as possible. Never say things like, “I think I may have a question that deals with…”, or “Four or five questions will be included that examine the concern of…”. If you will be using an interview procedure or a focus group discussion, include a draft copy of the specific questions that will actually be used for the interview/discussion.