Evaluations are great tools for organizations that want to understand the impact of their efforts. But the wrong questions may lead to inaccurate results and ineffective decisions, and that’s not what we want!
Make your evaluations more effective by looking at the sample evaluation questions in this article.
There are different evaluation questions, and we’ll look at examples for each of them today. We’ll also look into the importance of conducting evaluations. Keep on reading to create evaluations that make a difference!
Why Conduct Evaluations?
Evaluations provide a systematic method for studying a program, practice, intervention, or initiative. It helps determine whether it meets its objectives. Through evaluations, you can know what works well and what else could be improved in a program or initiative. You can use program evaluations for:
- Demonstrating a program’s impact on funders
- Improving your efforts in the future
- Seeking support to keep the program going
- Sharing information about the approach with others
- Determining if a similar approach would work in other locations with similar needs
You need to take the time to think your evaluation questions through to avoid ending up with irrelevant data. You can decide which data collection methods are most appropriate by identifying evaluation questions before anything else.
Effective Sample Evaluation Questions
A process evaluation is about understanding how your process works and what it brings you while following it. This is to identify any gaps or things that may need improvement.
Some questions to evaluate your program’s processes are:
- Do you know if the project has reached your target audience?
- Do all project activities reach all target groups?
- What happens if planned activities have been changed?
- Do participants and other key stakeholders agree with all aspects of the project?
- Are all activities following the intended goals? If not, why?
- How appropriate are all materials, information, and presentations to target audiences?
- Do the processes comply with quality standards?
Impact evaluations are typically used to determine whether investing in an opportunity is worth the risk. By conducting an impact evaluation, you identify the level of impact the opportunity has on the company, the company’s finances, and the company’s future.
It also measures the immediate effect of a program and determines if it is aligned with and meets the program’s objectives. This type of evaluation is typically done immediately after completion of the program or up to six months after completion.
- In which areas have the project met its objectives (and sub-objectives)?
- Have you been successful in achieving the short-term changes you desired?
- What was the most challenging aspect of meeting your objectives?
Outcome evaluation focuses on the long-term effects of a program and is used to measure its success. Results are measured by measuring how well the program goal has been accomplished.
This type of evaluation is closely similar to impact evaluations. The main difference is that it measures long terms changes—ideally, at least six months after the program was implemented.
- What factors outside the program contributed to or hindered the desired change?
- Is the overall goal of your program met?
- What if any unintended changes have occurred as a result of the program?
- What features of the program and its context made a difference?
- Was the program successfully delivering or contributing to the intended outcomes in the short and long term?
Peer-based youth programs may measure mental and physical well-being, education and employment, and help-seeking behaviors as outcome measures.
In addition to measuring the main objective of a program, outcome evaluation can also assess program objectives over time. It may not always be appropriate to conduct peer-based outcome evaluations.
During the program’s completion, it may be helpful to conduct a summative evaluation. This focuses on the entire program cycle and includes questions such as:
- Are you continuing the program?
- Do you continue it in its entirety?
- Could you implement the program in other settings?
- Can you explain the program’s sustainability?
- What elements could have helped or hindered the program?
- What recommendations have been formed from this program?
Quick Tips for Choosing the Right Questions
There are several factors to consider when choosing questions for your evaluation. Here are just some of them:
- What do you want to know? Focus on this and cut out unnecessary words so that your questions are clear and direct.
- Consider what your funders need. For example, the criteria for your evaluation will need to meet the 50% requirement for providers of Children’s programs.
- Take a look at what questions are measuring. There are different evaluation question types that you can use. Process questions measure your program’s implementation, while outcome questions measure its effect on participants and communities. Both are very useful. It would be best if you thought through your questions so that you will get the information you need.
When conducting an evaluation, you will need some effective questions to figure out what success looks like for your program. With the help of these sample evaluation questions, you can spell out the organization’s impact in a meaningful way.
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