Types of Evaluation

Once you have shaped the purpose of your evaluation it’s time to consider what kind you need.

Here is a range of types of evaluation. See also our Approaches and Methods Matrix. It is common to use more than one type of evaluation for any one project.

DevelopmentalDesign or develop a response to a known need, particularly in complex situations, where approaches or activities are being developed or tested. It supports experimental, creative or innovative approaches where the results are uncertain. Developmental evaluation asks good questions and provides real-time feedback to inform its development.
Needs analysisMap and verify the extent of an issue. It answers questions about the number and features of a target group, area or community and what they might need to tackle an issue. Needs assessments can help justify a new programme or verify an existing one.
FormativeHelp improve and refine a project.
ProcessFind out how well something was implemented or delivered. It’s often used to understand how well programme results were achieved and to replicate or scale it.
Impact or outcomeAssess how effectively a programme met its goals and produced change. This kind of evaluation focuses on the difficult questions of what happened for participants and how much of a difference the programme made.
SummativeTo reach a judgement about the overall performance of something to answer questions about quality and impact for the purposes of accountability and decision making.
What is the difference between monitoring and evaluation?

Monitoring provides ongoing information about how a programme is going. It identifies problems and measures progress.

Monitoring generally focusses on project activity and provides record-keeping and regular reports of day-to-day work.

Evaluation involves periodic, in-depth analysis at significant points in a project’s life.

It assesses the quality, value and importance of something. It can use data generated through monitoring and a range of quantitative and qualitative data.

Main Differences

Tends to occur regularly.Tends to occur periodically.
Tracks and documents progress.In-depth analysis, compares planned with actual achievements.
Focuses on what goes in such as resources and activities and what comes out.Focuses on results (things that happen to people or communities) and on processes used.
Alerts people to problems and gives them a chance to correct them.Provides strategy and policy options.


How to analyse data