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  1. Cost Benefit Analysis

    Evaluation Option
    California's largest wind farm, Altamont pass photo by kqedquest

    Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is a technique used to compare the total costs of a programme/project with its benefits, using a common metric (most commonly monetary units). This enables the calculation of the net cost or benefit associated with the programme. 

  2. Convenience Sampling

    Evaluation Option
    Roadtrip 5 by Searunner. sv -

    Convenience sampling selection is based on the ease or "convenience" of gaining access to a sample. Rather than using a random or purposeful approach to sampling, the evaluator simply gathers data from people who are readily available. This form of data collection works for some areas of study, but using these options may result in low credible cases that produce inaccurate data and questionable results.

  3. Sequential Sampling

    Evaluation Option
    Inside Purple Flower by Frank Starmer

    Sequential sampling is a non-probabilistic sampling technique, initially developed as a tool for product quality control.  The sample size, n, is not fixed in advanced, nor is the timeframe of data collection.  The process begins, first, with the sampling of a single observation or a group of observations.  These are then tested to see whether or not the null hypothesis can be rejected.  If the null is not rejected, then another observation or group of observations is sampled and the test is run again.  In this way the test continues until the researcher is confident in his or her results.

  4. Understand Causes


    Most evaluations require ways of addressing questions about cause and effect – not only documenting what has changed but understanding why.   

    Impact evaluation, which focuses on understanding the long-term results from interventions (projects, programs, policies, networks and organisations), always includes attention to understanding causes.  

    Understanding causes can also be important in other types of evaluations.  For example in a process evaluation, there often needs to be some explanation of why implementation is good or bad in order to be able to suggest ways it might be improved or sustained. 

    In recent years there has been considerable development of methods for understanding causes in evaluations, and also considerable discussion and disagreement about which options are suitable in which situations. 

  5. Week 25: Sharing resources on BetterEvaluation

    25th June, 2014

    At BetterEvaluation we get many suggestions from users of new resources to add to the site. This is an essential element of our aims to improve evaluation practice and theory by sharing information about options (methods or tools) and approaches. In this week's blog I will be highlighting some of the many resources that users have suggested to us over the last month. If you would like to contribute to BE it is as simple as clicking here and letting us know what you would like to suggest.

  6. Learning Alliances

    Evaluation Option

    The Learning Alliances approach was used by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), an international research institute based in Cali, Colombia, as a way for generating knowledge and fostering innovation processes. The authors indicated that it can be used to "strengthen capacities, generate and document development outcomes, identify future research needs or areas for collaboration, and inform public and private sector policy decisions" (Lundy, Gottret and Ashby, 2005).

  7. Simple Random Sampling

    Evaluation Option
    Geneva Crowd photo by Andy Carvin

    A simple random sample (SRS) is the most basic probabilistic option used for creating a sample from a population. Each SRS is made of individuals drawn from a larger population (represented by the variable N), completely at random. As a result, said individuals have an equal chance of being selected throughout the sampling process. The benefit of SRS is that as a result, the investigator is guaranteed to choose a sample which is representative of the population, which ensures statistically valid conclusions.

  8. Concept Mapping

    Evaluation Option
    Computer science mindmap by Till Tantau

    A concept map shows how different ideas relate to each other - sometimes this is called a mind map or a cluster map. This option can be used for the task of negotiating values and standards, and is useful for framing the evaluation. Concept Mapping can be used before, during or after implementation of a project/program/policy. It is necessarily done in a group and it requires sufficient time (the group needs to provide input individually and then meet) and specialist software.

  9. Demographic Mapping

    Evaluation Option

    Demographic mapping is a way of using GIS (global information system) mapping technology to show data on population characteristics by region or geographic area. Many demographic maps use interactive technology, allowing users to customize the data to their needs, to view changes over time or select regions for comparison.

  10. Social Mapping

    Wellbeing ranking
    Evaluation Option

    This option is used to help identify households using pre-determined indicators that are based on socio-economic factors. It works to determine a relative ranking of socio-economic status of the household rather than an absolute ranking. It can help determine which households are benefiting from an assessment and whether or not they belong to the target group.