Evaluation

Publicly as well as privately undertaken projects are under pressure to deliver optimal results using limited resources as effectively as possible. These days, such measures can only be successfully implemented over longer periods of time when there are appropriate regulatory instruments. Evaluation and impact assessment tools are especially valuable for this.

Particularly those organisations that are dependent on donations or that are the object of public interest need evaluations that are carefully executed and credible. Those assessments are not only meant for reporting and legitimisation, but are increasingly used for organisational learning processes. Evaluations are meant to provide crucial knowledge that is useful for steering current and future projects and programmes.

A good evaluation process manages to “productively irritate” those being evaluated with the results in a way that encourages and enables necessary changes. At the same time the results have to be linked to the existing organisational culture – to make them acceptable and understandable for the evaluated individuals.

Areas of tension of evaluations

Many years of practical experience as an evaluator has taught me that an evaluation always moves between certain areas of tension:

Justification pfeil Learning
Concern of the clientpfeil concern of the evaluated individuals
Work with a predefined analytical approachpfeilprocess-orientation
Use of quantitative methodspfeil use of qualitative methods
Depth of the analysispfeilbreadth of covered topics
Problem-based approachpfeilpotential-based approach

Not only do these areas of tension have to be kept in balance and renegotiated throughout every evaluation, but they also have to be tolerated. Evaluation is not a scientific study but rather a process of continuous learning, for all stakeholders involved, that has to be designed in a context-specific manner.

What constitutes a good evaluation?

A professionally conducted evaluation follows a participatory approach that intensely involves all stakeholders from the preparation phase onwards. The faithful cooperation between evaluated individuals and assessors is a prerequisite for the quality and acceptance of the results. The roles of all involved actors need to be constantly re-assessed within the process.

Priorities have to be set mutually and early on to minimise operating expenses of the evaluation. The major question should not focus on all points that could be assessed within the evaluation, but rather concentrate on the central aspects needed to assess the relevance, impact and sustainability of a measure and to develop sustainable recommendations.

It is necessary to select the most suitable method of data collection from a wide range of feasible means that enables different perspectives on the topic and that allows for objective conclusions. Each evaluation needs a tailor-made and technically viable evaluation design. This includes an appropriate setting for a feedback on the results since this is usually the key to learning.

I offer:

  • 20 years of practical experience of conducting evaluations, including leading evaluation teams.
  • a context-specific evaluation design that is oriented to your needs and individual framework conditions.
  • solid competences in all necessary methods, including empirical social research, participatory appraisal, appreciative inquiry, Method for Impact Assessment of Programmes and Projects (MAPP); gender-sensitive impact assessment.
  • the following thematic emphases for evaluations: education and learning, democratisation and civil participation, social work, gender, rural development, protection of natural resources. Furthermore I have comprehensive expertise in the context of organisational development and management.

 

 

 

Impressum | © Heidrun Gilde, Organisationsberatung & Supervision