Sunday 30 April 2017

Getting those evaluation reports right

The other day I tried to remember how many evaluation reports I reviewed or used over the last ten years - probably a couple of hundreds. An astonishing number of reports felt like a a waste of time (and money). Anyone who is in the international development business knows how extremely diverse evaluation reports tend to look in this sector - from clear, concise and comprehensive to inintelligbile, interminable and still incomplete.

It is super-frustrating when - for example - you carry out a meta-analysis of evaluations and you have to discard half of the reports because of their poor quality.
Now, the great Better Evaluation site has published a checklist for evaluation reports, which lays down the characteristic of the ideal evaluation report. Find a link to download it here (a new page opens and there you'll click on "View Resource" to get the checklist). It is an annotated checklist with tips on how to write well. A wonderful resource. Use it and spread it to everyone who writes evaluations!

By the way - and I believe I have posted that earlier - Better Evaluation also offers guidance for managing evaluations and TOR writing. An important resource for those who commission evaluations. Because even the best-written report will be of little use if it answers the wrong questions, or if it can't answer the TOR questions because the resources at hand don't match the expectations.