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Evaluations can be conducted by a range of different actors including: external contractors; internal staff; those involved in delivering services; by peers; by the community; and by a combined group. Therefore it is important to make decisions about who is best to conduct the evaluation.
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These options answer questions about a type of intervention rather than about a single case – questions such as “Do these types of interventions work?” or “For whom, in what ways and under what circumstances do they work?” The task involves locating the evidence (often involving bibliographic searches of databases, with particular emphasis on finding unpublished studies), assessing its quality and relevance in order to decide whether or not to include it, extracting the relevant information, and synthesizing it.  Different options use different strategies and have different definitions of what constitutes credible evidence.
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To develop evaluative judgments, the evaluator draws data from the evaluation and systematically synthesises and values the data. There are a range of options that can be used for synthesis and valuing.
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All impact evaluations should include some attention to identifying and (if possible) ruling out alternative explanations for the impacts that have been observed.
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One of the three tasks involved in understanding causes is to compare the observed results to those you would expect if the intervention had not been implemented - this is known as the 'counterfactual'.
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Analysing data to summarise it and look for patterns is an important part of every evaluation. The options for doing this have been grouped into two categories - quantitative data (number) and qualitative data (text, images).

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