Negotiating the standards for the evaluation

Patricia Rogers's picture 14th May 2012 by Patricia Rogers

One of the trickiest situations in evaluation is when, after the draft report is submitted, it becomes clear that the evaluation team and the commissioning organization have different ideas about what the evaluation should do and how it should do it - and therefore have major differences about what the evaluation report should say.  

In this interesting example, BetterEvaluation community member Pablo Rodríguez-Bilella and his colleague Rafael Monterde-Díaz discuss their experience evaluating a rural development program in Argentina, when these differences became evident very late in the process. They describe the changes made to the first, second and third drafts of the evaluation report to address concerns raised by the commissioning agency, while trying to remain true to the evidence that had been gathered and the evaluative criteria that had been previously identified.

They recommend addressing these issues up front wherever possible - in particular agreeing on the criteria and standards for evaluating the program or policy, and being clear that the evaluation report will refer explicitly to these. While these may change over the period of the evaluation, ongoing discussions about these will help to develop a culture of evaluation within the organization.

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