This is the second of a two-part blog on strategies to support the use of evaluation, building on a session the BetterEvaluation team facilitated at the American Evaluation Association conference last year. While the session focused particularly on strategies to use after an evaluation report has been produced, it is important to address use before and during an evaluation.
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This guide addresses the issue of ensuring that evaluation findings are used by stakeholders. It guides readers through the process of creating effective evaluation reports, focusing on the key considerations that need to be taken into account, the essential elements of reports, the importance of dissemination, and offers tools and resources to help with this task. Although created with assist evaluators of heart disease and stroke prevention activities in mind, this guide will be useful for program managers, evaluators and other stakeholders who wish to identify appropriate evaluation products, effectively communicate findings, and find effective dissemination efforts.
Before you begin to gather and analyze your data, consider how you can ensure your collection efforts will meet the reporting needs of your primary intended users.
From the first step of the evaluation process, even though it may be one of the last evaluation tasks, explicitly discuss the content, sharing, and use of reports during the initial planning of the evaluation and return to the discussion thereafter. Most importantly, identify who your primary intended users are. Use of the evaluation often depends on how well the report meets the needs and learning gaps of the primary intended users.
Cartoons can be a helpful addition to formal reports. They can allow readers to see a point differently, add humour, and break up large sections of prose.