The resources available for evaluation include people’s time and expertise, equipment and funding. Whose time will be required or requested? Which funds are available for this evaluation? What evaluation expertise is available in-house or for hire?
Data is a critical resource to consider, identify what data collection systems already exist, the quality of available data and whether there are systems for monitoring accuracy and completeness. What information is currently available? How might this information be mined to address evaluation questions? Are in-house resources available to retrieve existing data? If new data must be collected, who will be involved in that?
Consult with the planned evaluation’s primary users and those who have a stake in the evaluation’s success. What resources might they be willing to contribute? In what ways might program staff and participants participate?
This simple table from the ‘Best Practices Guide to Program Evaluation For Aquatic Educators’ (p35) provides a framework for stocktaking the resources you have and comparing them to what you need. It then prompts you to consider options for either leveraging additional resources or adapting the evaluation to work with the available resources. This table has been modified to include data inputs because the availability of relevant information has important implications for budgeting an evaluation.
|Resources||What you have||What you need||How to get what you need or work within resource limitations|
|Materials and equiptment|
Consider potential positive and negative implications of using available resources. Will the participation of intended users increase or decrease the likelihood that the evaluation results will be utilised? Are participants likely to feel more or less free to provide critical feedback if program staff are interviewing them? What are the implications for managing the evaluation and providing training and support, if there are many people contributing small amounts of time? The implications of using available resources will vary depending on the nature of the intervention and the purposes of the evaluation.
Advice for CHOOSING this option (tips and traps)
The more creative you are in identifying resources, the greater your chances for securing the quantity and quality of resources that will make your evaluation a success.
Advice for USING this option (tips and traps)
Stakeholders are most willing to contribute resources when they believe the evaluation reflects their values. If an evaluation is to be co-resourced, expect to spend more time in gaining consensus on the evaluation purpose, and to engage in participatory planning.
Marynowski S. Denny C. & Colverson P. 2006 Best Practices Guide to Program Evaluation For Aquatic Educators Pandion Systems, Inc. Gainesville, Florida. www.pandionsystems.com