Determine the evaluator qualities

Different types of evaluation (e.g., impact assessment, action-oriented evaluation) will have different demands in terms of technical and other expertise and the degree of ‘distance’ between the evaluator and the subject.

The below table lists some essential evaluator characteristics or qualities matched to the main purpose (or use) of the evaluation (i.e., accountability, learning or innovation):

Main purpose of the evaluation

Essential evaluator qualities

Accountability – Emphasis on determining the worth or merit of a project/program.

Should possess qualitative and quantitative expertise and experience.

Independence and credibility is of central importance.

Learning – Emphasis on facilitating project / program improvements.


Must be reflective, familiar and comfortable with concepts of adult education and organizational learning, and willing and able to take the role of facilitator.

Should possess qualitative and quantitative expertise and experience.

Innovation – Emphasis on facilitating the design of new projects/programs based on what works.

Should be a strong leader, but also a team player.

Should possess good analytical skills.

Generally, the following basic qualities should be considered:

At the individual level:

  • Quantitative and/or qualitative research skills
    • Evaluation experience and expertise
    • Sensitivity to the project’s principles (e.g., empowerment, participatory action, capacity-building)
    • Ability to effectively communicate to the targeted users and audiences
    • Independence

Across the team:

  • Quantitative and qualitative research skills
  • Multidisciplinary skills (e.g., economic, demographic, environmental, sociological)
  • Thematic and contextual knowledge and experience
  • Research for development expertise and experience
  • Gender and cultural balance
  • Language skills
  • Familiarity with the organization and its partners

Regardless of the specific evaluator qualities needed to support a quality implementation of the evaluation, there are also important general characteristics: flexibility, ability to problem solve, and credibility.


  • List of evaluator qualities
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