There are many decisions to be made in an evaluation – its purpose and scope; the key evaluation questions; how different values will be negotiated; what should be the research design and methods for data collection and analysis; how information will be shared; what recommendations should be developed and how.
(Our evaluation planning tool sets out 32 decisions that need to be made when planning an evaluation).
These decisions are often made by a group of people, often in a face to face meeting. In many cases there is an attempt to involve stakeholders, especially intended users, in these decisions, in order to improve the credibility and utility of the evaluation.
These meetings can be more effective with good facilitation skills, yet guides to evaluation rarely help evaluators or managers of evaluation to develop these skills.
Here are some resources we have found useful, including a new free e-book on Creative Facilitation:
This new free e-book provides an overview of facilitation that can be used by external or internal facilitators. It discusses when facilitation is appropriate and when it is not (such as when a decision has already been made and this simply needs to be communicated), basic facilitation and beyond the basics, and useful resources.
The workbook was written by the staff of the Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) and the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) but can be applied more broadly. Section II of the book provides worksheets and templates to facilitate discussion and decisions about each step of the evaluation plan.
This website provides information about the Gender Evaluation Methodology (GEM), including tips, exercises, and key resources to help project holders facilitate evaluation meetings.
Can you suggest other useful resources for learning to facilitate evaluation decisions well?
Should an evaluator (who is expected to provide expertise in design) also play the role of facilitating these decisions, or should an independent facilitator be used?
Image credit: Emily Travis/DFID, Flickr