Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

What are monitoring and evaluation?

This article unpacks what we mean by monitoring and evaluation, and how they can help you to identify what initiatives are working well.

As the video above illustrates, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) are essential to answer key questions about your initiative (whether a policy or programme) and its effectiveness.

What are monitoring and evaluation?

Although monitoring and evaluation are often used as a single phrase, the two words refer to separate concepts.

Monitoring is the tracking of key programming elements and the routine collection of information. The evaluation assesses and interprets this information. Monitoring is usually done internally by a programme or delivery team while evaluation is often (but not always) carried out by an external party such as a university.

The two go hand in hand. Monitoring data can be used in the evaluation, and evaluation can inform monitoring processes.

The table below illustrates how monitoring and evaluation differ and how they work together.

Monitoring Evaluation
Clarifies programme objectives Analyses why intended results were or were not achieved
Links activities and required resources to objectives Assesses the extent to which activities were responsible for results
Translates objectives into performance indicators and set targets Examines implementation process: what went well and what could be improved?
Routinely collects data on indicators, compares actual results with targets Explores unintended results: what happened that we didn’t expect?
Reports progress to managers and alert them to problems Provides lessons highlights significant accomplishments or programme potential and offers recommendations for improvement

Most importantly, monitoring and evaluation together help you to identify what is working well and what is not! It enables you to learn and strengthen your policy or programme.

Monitoring is important for all activities – it helps you to notice patterns and take action quickly if something is not working.


This article is from the free online

Sport for Sustainable Development: Designing Effective Policies and Programmes

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now