Utilization-Focused Evaluation

Alan Mountain

To coincide with EvalPartnerse-learning unit on Utilization-Focused Evaluation (UFE), this week BetterEvaluation is highlighting the wide variety of resources that are available to those who'd like to learn more about this approach.

Utilization-Focused Evaluation (UFE), developed by Michael Quinn Patton, is an approach based on the principle that an evaluation should be judged on its usefulness to its intended users. Therefore evaluations should be planned and conducted in ways that enhance the likely utilization of both the findings and of the process itself to inform decisions and improve performance.

UFE has two essential elements.  Firstly, the primary intended users of the evaluation must be clearly identified and personally engaged at the beginning of the evaluation process to ensure that their primary intended uses can be identified.  Secondly, evaluators must ensure that these intended uses of the evaluation by the primary intended users guide all other decisions that are made about the evaluation process.

Rather than a focus on general and abstract users and uses, UFE is focused on real and specific users and uses.  The evaluator’s job is not to make decisions independently of the intended users, but rather to facilitate decision making amongst the people who will use the findings of the evaluation.

You can sign up for EvalPartners’ free e-learning course, including the unit on Utilization-Focused Evaluation here.  

To find out more about this approach you can visit BE's Utilization-Focused Evaluation page which provides a detailed outline of UFE plus links to a wide variety of guides and tools, some of which can be found below. 



  • Utilization-Focused Evaluation (U-FE)Checklist:   designed by Michael Quinn Patton in 2002 this is a comprehensive checklist for undertaking a utilization focused evaluation. It draws attention to the necessary tasks and associated challenges of conducting Utilization-Focused Evaluation (UFE).



If you are looking for descriptions and analysis by others who have used Utilization-Focused Evaluation  (including presentations from the 2011 and 2012 conferences of the American Evaluation Association (AEA)), there are some great resources available through the AEA Public eLibrary. Here are just a few:

Image: GPS Teacher Workshop by Old Shoe Woman via Flickr

'Utilization-Focused Evaluation' is referenced in: