Choosing Appropriate Evaluation Methods Tool

Friday, October 14, 2016

Choosing the right evaluation tools is crucial for producing useful, credible and rigorous evidence in evaluations. The Choosing Appropriate Evaluation Methods tool is an accessible aid to help you understand evaluation methods and choose the right ones for your purposes.

Find the right evaluation method

There is growing range of evaluation methods for answering different evaluation questions, from randomised controlled trials to outcome mapping to process tracing. But selecting the right method or combination of methods for your organisation can be difficult. 

Which method is appropriate depends on what questions you want to answer, what additional goals and interests you have, and whether various attributes of your intervention and evaluation process make it feasible to use different methods.
The Choosing Appropriate Evaluation Methods tool has been developed by evaluator Barbara Befani with Michael O’Donnell from Bond, and input from experts in 11 different evaluation methods.

How the tool works

The tool is available as a spreadsheet, with an accompanying guide explaining how to use the tools and providing further information on the evaluation methods it covers. It provides results that help understand which methods will and will not be appropriate to use. The choice of evaluation methods ultimately requires your expert judgement, but this tool can be used to:

  • Develop a greater understanding of evaluation methods and their characteristics
  • Help inform the choice of evaluation methods for a specific intervention
  • Help inform the design of an intervention to increase its “evaluability”

Methodological appropriateness is a challenging and contested area – this tool has been developed under a Creative Commons license with the intention that it can be further developed and improved upon by anyone. Please send any feedback to Barbara Befani and Bond's Effectiveness and Learning team. The tool was developed with funding from the Department for International Development and Comic Relief.

Additional Bond resources on this issue include “Impact Evaluation: A Guide for Commissioners and Managers” by Elliot Stern, Bond’s practical “Tips on Evaluation Terms of Reference”, and the Evidence Principles and Checklist for determining quality of evidence.

Download the guide to using the tool and download the tool below.

Book on to our Tools and methods for monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning training course to find out more about these tools and other key approaches.

If you're new to monitoring, evaluation and learning, check out our Introductory course for information on how to use these tools.

Resource type: tool

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