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What is an evaluation plan?

This step details how you will evaluate and how you intend to use evaluation results for learning and decision making.

In this video, you learned about the key elements of an evaluation plan and why they are included.

It is useful for an evaluation plan to include:

1. The purpose of the evaluation

Ask yourself:

  • Is everyone involved (team and stakeholders) clear and agreed about the purpose of the evaluation? If you’re not sure – check.

2. The resources available

Ask yourself:

  • Do the resources we have available match our evaluation plan?
  • Do we have enough people? The right technology and equipment?
  • Do any staff or volunteers that will be assisting you have the time and skills to do what you need?
  • Do you need to provide any training or briefing?

3. The research question

Ask yourself:

  • Is the research question clear and understood by everyone involved?
  • Does it fit with the purpose of the evaluation?

4. Evaluation model

Ask yourself:

  • Thinking about the purpose of the evaluation, what is the most appropriate evaluation model or framework to use?
  • Look back to the exercise you did in Week 1 Step 1.16 – does this still feel like the most appropriate evaluation framework to use?

5. Evaluation methods

Ask yourself:

  • Will these methods provide the right kind of evidence I need?
  • Are they appropriate for the different types of people and activities involved in the project or event I am evaluating?
  • Do I have the right combination of methods to tell the most complete story?

6. Implementation plan

This is where you detail the different evaluation activities you are going to carry out in your evaluation. A table can be a useful way to present this information. Your table can include the evidence you are going to collect; the questions you are going to ask; the research methods you are using; and who or what your evidence will come from. You can also include who is responsible and even add links to surveys, question banks, topic guides and data collected to make your document a ‘one stop shop’ for your evaluation.

Refer to the Evaluation Plan example available in the Downloads section at the end of this step.

You also need a detailed timetable showing what is happening and when: when your questions need to be agreed; the various moments during the activity when you will be collecting evidence; the time allocated for analysis of your evidence, and any reporting deadlines. Think carefully about your timetable! Based on the purpose of the evaluation (refer back to Week 1, Activity 3: Models of evaluation – and consider if your evaluation is summative or formative) ensure you are collecting data at the most useful moments during your project. You will probably also need to build in time for colleagues to sign off research questions and approve drafts of your report; and make sure you have allocated enough time for analysis of the evidence you collect.

Refer to the Evaluation Plan Timetable example available in the Downloads section at the end of this step.

This implementation plan provides a detailed road map for implementing your evaluation activities.

Ask yourself:

  • What’s the most useful format for me to use for the implementation plan – a spreadsheet with a series of tabs? A table in a shared drive?
  • What needs to be included to make it useful?
  • Who else needs access to this?
  • Are there any dependencies I need to consider in my timetable? For example, who needs to approve my feedback survey before I can start using it, or when will I know how many volunteers are available to help with the research.

Top tip

Try to balance comprehensiveness with complexity – the key thing is that your implementation plan is a useful resource for you, and anyone else involved in the evaluation, to guide what you are actually going to do.

7. Sharing the findings

Finally, start to think about who you need to share your findings with. The next activity – Communicating and learning from your evaluation – will show you how to do this.

Activity

Identify a programme or project from your work and using the evaluation plan template, complete the different sections to illustrate how you might evaluate it. It will be useful to refer back to earlier activities on the course to help you do this. We will go on to refine the plan later in this section so don’t worry about making it perfect at this stage.
Download a copy of the Evaluation plan template to complete this activity.

Time to reflect

  • Were you able to complete all of the sections of the evaluation plan template?
  • Which section required the most thinking?
  • Did you have access to the information you needed for the plan? If not, how could you find out this information?
Share and discuss your thoughts with other learners in the Comments section.
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Evaluation for Arts, Culture, and Heritage: Principles and Practice

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