Announcing the IDRC program managers' guide to evaluation and the GeneraTOR


We’re excited to announce the launch of the BetterEvaluation and IDRC (International Development Research Centre) Program Managers’ Guide to Evaluation and GeneraTOR.

The Program Managers' Guide is an important new resource for the evaluation community. While there are many guidelines and tools to support those conducting evaluations, there are far fewer resources specifically focused on commissioners and managers of evaluation. Yet we know that evaluation capacity depends on the quality of the demand for evaluation as well as the quality of the supply of evaluation. In particular the appropriateness and comprehensiveness of the Terms of Reference are critically important, whether an evaluation is conducted externally or internally.

How to use and access the Guide and GeneraTOR

The Guide provides a clear and systematic guide for managers, with links to further detail and examples as required. In addition it incorporates a GeneraTOR which prompts for particular information to produce a draft Terms of Reference document which can be shared, reviewed and finalised with other stakeholders.

Thanks to the International Development Research Centre, the Guide and the integrated GeneraTOR can be accessed freely through the BetterEvaluation Site. In order to use the GeneraTOR you will need to sign in as a BetterEvaluation member, which is also free. 

Structure and development

The content, format and process for developing the guide was informed by a scoping study in 2013, funded by IDRC and conducted by BetterEvaluation researchers. The work was initiated in response to an observed decline in the quality of evaluation reports commissioned by IDRC and its grantees. 

The information is organized in 9 steps as shown in the menu.

The guide was developed with two audiences in mind: (1) IDRC program managers and grantees who are managing development research and its evaluation; and, (2) the broader community of commissioners and managers of evaluations of different types of research and specific interventions (policies, programs, projects etc).

Many issues are common to anyone commissioning an evaluation, but important elements of the evaluation process are organization-specific. Hence, the guide was developed to be relevant to a wide audience, with a small but important set of information that is specific to IDRC’s work. 

Developed in partnership with IDRC, the guide can be used for managing an evaluation that is conducted by an external evaluator or evaluation team, an internal team, or by a combination of these. It can be used for different types of evaluations and for evaluations of different types of interventions, including projects, programs, policies and clusters of projects. It can also be used for evaluation of research.

The guide aims to support decision making throughout the process of an evaluation, from planning its purpose and scope, designing it, conducting it, reporting findings and supporting use of its findings.

We'd love your feedback

We invite you to try out the Guide and the GeneraTOR and share them with your colleagues.  We are now engaged in the next stage of development, so please send your feedback and comments.  In particular - 

  1. Do you have comments on improvements for specific pages?
  2. Are there other resources we should include as additional support?
  3. Do you have good examples to share?

You can send comments and suggestions through our contact form.