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Evaluation Planning

An evaluation plan outlines the evaluation approach, including the focus of the evaluation (such as an activity, intervention, program, or policy), evaluation design, evaluation research questions, data collection methods, evaluation activities, stakeholders that should be engaged, timeline, performance measures, key milestones, and costs.

It is important to establish an evaluation plan before the program starts to make sure that the evaluation research questions, measures, and methods align with the evaluation's goals.

Questions to consider when planning the evaluation include:

  • What are the goals of the program?
  • What are the evaluation research questions that need to be answered?
  • Who are the key stakeholders in the program?
  • What types of resources and inputs are necessary to implement the program?
  • What structures and processes are in place to implement program?
  • What activities are conducted by the program?
  • What are the anticipated outputs of the program?
  • What are the anticipated outcomes of the program?
  • What contextual factors may affect the program?
  • What are the barriers or challenges to implementing the program?
  • Is there a return on investment for the program?

Developing evaluation research questions is an important part of evaluation planning. Guidance on the process for developing evaluation questions is available from the Centers for Disease Control.

Resources to Learn More

The Community Tool Box: Chapter 36 - Section 5. Developing an Evaluation Plan
This toolkit walks through important considerations when developing an evaluation plan. It also includes other resources to help develop an evaluation plan.
Organization(s): University of Kansas Work Group for Community Health and Development

Core Concepts in Developing Monitoring and Evaluation Frameworks
Explains how to create a plan for routine monitoring and evaluation of a program, how to collect meaningful data, and analyze the results to inform future decisions.
Organization(s): Anne Markiewicz and Associates
Date: 1/2014