Introducing BetterEvaluation: Better information. Better choices. Better evaluation.

Patricia Rogers's picture 12th April 2011 by Patricia Rogers

 

BetterEvaluation provides information to support better choices of evaluation methods and better implementation of evaluation methods.

We don’t advocate for particular evaluation methods or approaches. We advocate for systematic and informed choices of methods, based on an understanding of what is available. We advocate for building and sharing information on methods based on evidence of their utility and feasibility. We advocate for learning across sectors, across countries, and across evaluators, evaluation managers, and evaluation users.

BetterEvaluation is currently in its beta-testing phase and will go live in July.  If you would like to contribute to this phase, please contact Simon Hearn

Who is developing BetterEvaluation

BetterEvaluation is being developed with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation and IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) by a diverse community who share a commitment to situationally responsive evaluation.

Founding partners are:

  • RMIT University (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia)
  • Pact (Washington D.C, USA and Bangkok, Thailand offices)
  • ILAC (Institutional Learning and Change initiative of the Consultative Group on International Agriculture, Italy)
  • ODI (Overseas Development Institute, UK)

Other contributors include:

  • Irene Guijt, Learning by Design
  • Nancy White, Full Circle Associates

Becoming involved

If you would like to be involved, please contact any of the team from the founding partners:

  • RMIT: Prof Patricia Rogers, Project Director: 
  • RMIT: Farida Fleming, Project Coordinator: 
  • ODI: Simon Hearn:
  • Pact: Matt Reeve: 
  • ILAC: Cris Sette: 

The BetterEvaluation rainbow

Many guides to evaluation methods only focus on certain tasks (such as how to collect data) or only include a narrow range of options.  BetterEvaluation includes methods for the full range of tasks in evaluation, including evaluation components that are often left out of evaluation tool boxes – such as identifying and prioritizing values, synthesizing data, and supporting use.

These methods are arranged in terms of a ‘rainbow’ of components, ALL of which need to be addressed for an effective evaluation.

BetterEvaluation provides a structured process to help users match methods to their evaluation situation. The website will lead users through a process of identifying the evaluation task that they are engaged in or planning and suggests methods suitable for that task. The task-oriented taxonomy is a key feature of the BetterEvaluation concept and has been designed from the users’ perspective to simplify the decision making process.

As well as methods being grouped by task, the tasks themselves are grouped into seven evaluation components, which relate to different aspects of evaluation that need to be considered when deciding methods. Here is a diagram illustrating the structure (click on the diagram to make it larger or to print):

How BetterEvaluation will work

BetterEvaluation will:

  • Provide content in a dynamic, user-centred manner
  • Provide a comprehensive list of methods in an easily navigable way
  • Provide guidance to users on how to select and adapt a method to suit their needs
  • Provide links to more detailed guidance on methods
  • Provide examples of methods in use
  • Encourage users to generate and upload content and rate evaluation resources
  • Ensure opportunities for exchange between users and between users and experts

The four main areas of the site are:

  • PLAN: Advice on the major steps to design and manage an evaluation or evaluation process
  • CHOOSE: Detailed and structured guidance on evaluation components and tasks and the methods that relate to each of these
  • FIND: Search for specific methods, approaches or sectoral information
  • CONNECT: Join discussions, post blogs, ask a question of community members or ask questions of experts

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