Define what is to be evaluated

This cluster of evaluation tasks develops an initial description of the program and how it is understood to work.

This can be used to:

  • engage stakeholders in the task "understand and engage stakeholders" from the 'Manage' cluster of tasks
  • guide choices about what data to collect in the 'Describe' cluster of tasks
  • inform testing of causal links when planning how to 'Understand Causes'


The following tasks are involved in managing an evaluation, an evaluation system or ongoing evaluative activity.

In this section

  • Develop an initial description of what is to be evaluated, to ensure agreement about the boundaries.
  • Make explicit how activities are understood to contribute to the intended outcomes and impacts. Communicate this in a diagram(s) and/or narrative. (This is useful for most evaluations but not always needed, such as for evaluations of the quality of products).
  • It is useful and ethical to consider possible negative impacts (that make things worse not better) and how they can be identified before an intervention (project, programme, or policy) is implemented and addressed in an evaluation or M&E System.

'Define what is to be evaluated' is referenced in: