Create an Evaluation Plan

Creating a plan that describes clearly what you are evaluating, why and how it is critical for successful evaluation.

Here is what you might include in a basic evaluation plan.

  • A description of the project you will evaluate.
  • Brief background (history and context).
  • Purpose, audience and use of the evaluation.
  • Clarify the evaluation questions.
  • Identify the evaluation method/s to answer the questions.
  • Evaluation team composition and participation of beneficiaries, partners and stakeholders.
  • What will happen and when – schedule, tasks, timeframes, logistics, budget.
  • Reporting and dissemination.
Do we need outside help?

In general, it is a good idea to build internal evaluation thinking, skills and capacity. It will increase your ability to prove your effectiveness, help your organisation adapt and learn and become more able to make the greatest contribution possible.

Sometimes you may need external evaluation support, particularly when you or your organisation feels unable to tackle an evaluation need – see where to go for support.

Other reasons or situations to seek outside evaluators include:

  • For a large scale project.
  • When independence and an objective view is needed.
  • For complex projects and situations.
  • When public accountability is required.
  • In sensitive or controversial circumstances.
  • When funding allows!
Whenever you hire external evaluation support, make sure the evaluator/s work closely with your organisation and learn all you can from them.

Basic steps for a typical evaluation

Traditional evaluation of a project, programme or service includes these basic steps.

Assemble the teamPlan and undertake an evaluation as a team and involve the right people to ensure relevance and ownership of results. The right people may include staff, clients, community members, for example.
Establish Purpose
Identify purpose, evaluative questions and potentially your theory of change or logic model.
Decide the type/s of evaluation you need
Consider what type/s of evaluation you need, given your purpose.
Develop an evaluation plan
Create your evaluation plan.
Collect data
Collect the data and prepare it for analysis.
Analyse data and make assessments
Examine the data and draw conclusions from it.
Write up findings
Write your evaluation report, see for example Presenting Results in www.evaluationtoolbox.net.au.
Report and share findingsPresent your findings in appropriate formats. Present your findings in appropriate formats. See our Use and Share pages for detailed information.

You will need different steps when you undertake developmental evaluation or when you build evaluative thinking and processes into your organisation.


Decide on the data you need