Avoiding decision fatigue when choosing evaluation methods

Patricia Rogers's picture 13th March 2012 by Patricia Rogers


We are often asked about the best method to use for an evaluation.  But there is a bewildering array of evaluation methods. For example, this is the list of evaluation methods on Wikipedia.

Some are methods for collecting data.  Some are methods for understanding whether the intervention has caused the impacts that have been observed. Methods for synthesizing data. Methods for reporting findings.

This can be an overwhelming set of choices.

In the BetterEvaluation project we have identified which evaluation methods can be used for different evaluation tasks, and grouped these evaluation tasks into 7 components. This makes it easier to plan an evaluation, because it breaks the planning process into a number of distinct decisions, each with a smaller number of method options.

We are currently working on the closed beta version of the BetterEvaluation site, developing guidance on when to choose and how to use well these different methods. Information about methods comes from experts, users, events, Research and Development projects and existing documentation (including websites and evaluation guides).

In the meantime, you can find information about components, tasks and methods on this site.  Start at the overview of components, or choose the COMPONENTS menu for information about each of the 7 components, and some specific tasks and methods.

A special thanks to this page's contributors
CEO, BetterEvaluation.