Synthesize and Value

Frequently Asked Questions

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What are options for synthesising and valuing data in a single evaluation?

Options for synthesizing and valuing data help you in your evaluative reasoning and judgement. It is important to make transparent your evaluative criteria. Developing a clear process and methodology for this evaluation component, Synthesis and Valuing, helps you develop defensible and evaluation conclusions. Agree on evaluation values with stakeholders early in the evaluation process.

Consider the following options for synthesis and valuing:

Cost benefit analysis: comparing costs to benefits
Cost effectiveness analysis: comparing the relative costs and outcomes (effects) of two or more courses of action
Cost utility analysis: comparing costs to the value of the outcomes
Numerical weighting: developing numeric scales to measure each evaluation criteria
Qualitative weight and sum: qualitative criteria, in combination with numeric scales, to measure each evaluation criteria
Rubrics: describing different levels of performance, value, or effectiveness in terms of the mix of evidence on each criterion

For more information on each option, go to the CHOOSE section of the BetterEvaluation site.

How do I bring together the different information I have about a program or policy?

In many cases it is necessary to make an overall judgment about a program or policy, particularly when an evaluation is intended to inform a decision about whether or not to invest or continue to invest in a particular program or policy.
Ideally you will have identified the values that will be used as part of developing an evaluation brief.  If not, you will need to do this now so the evaluative criteria and standards are transparent and defensible (see Determine what success looks like).

Some of the options for synthesis work by analyzing the results in terms of costs and benefits.  Some options only work with quantitative data and some can use both quantitative and qualitative data.

For help in deciding which of these to use see Synthesize data from a single evaluation.