BetterEvaluation hits five years!

Alice Macfarlan's picture 29th October 2017 by Alice Macfarlan

This month we're celebrating our 5th birthday! The BetterEvaluation site went live for for public access during the 2012 European Evaluation Society conference in Helsinki, after more than a year of development and beta-testing with contributors from around the world,  Thank you to our contributors, partners, members, and friends who have helped us reached this milestone and contributed to our shared vision of making evaluation better. 

As we look back at where we’ve come from and look forward to where we want to go, we're inviting you to help us shape that future.  We are now planning the next phase of BetterEvaluation, and have launched a user survey as part of this.  Help us to evaluate BetterEvaluation to make BetterEvaluation better!



Also, in line with our birthday tradition, there are presents for you to have and share with your friends and colleagues.

Then and now: 

The site has had a number of changes since it launched in 2012. The most obvious is the change to the homepage, which underwent a re-design in 2014 after consultation with a feedback panel. As you can see below, it's now lighter and brighter, and highlights key areas such as the Rainbow Framework, Start Here button and blogs (jump to the end of this blog for a larger, interactive version of these graphics):

BetterEvaluation homepage  in 2012      vs     BetterEvaluation homepage in 2017

In other ways too, we're so much more than when we started. We now have nearly 7,000 registered members,  and have had over 3.8 million site sessions (1.15m in the last year), and 6.1 million unique pageviews. We’re delighted and humbled by the extent to which people are using the site personally and embedding it in organisational resources. We've listed some of our most visited pages at the end of this blog. 

Looking forward

While these statistics are great, they also raise a lot of questions for us.

  • Our usage is high, but what about our usefulness?

  • We have over 2,000 individual pages on BetterEvaluation, but can people navigate these to find what they need?

  • What else do people need in order to be able to put into practice information about new methods and processes?

  • We have nearly 7,000 members, but how we can do more to support sharing of experiences and insights from that combined experience? 

Evaluating BetterEvaluation to make BetterEvaluation better!

As part of planning the next phase, we're excited to announce that we're launching a project to learn more about the user experience of the site. 

We want to know more about how the website is being used, and what we can do to make it better.

We're starting this off with a survey of you - our users - to gain a better understanding of why you use the site, what you use it for, and what's working well and not so well.

We'll then be following this up with in-depth interviews and observation testing with people who represent different types of users, and further investigation of key topics and possible priorities. We'll let you know about the other opportunities to be involved  - and will report back to you our plans for improving the website's user experience.

We really need your help to do this well.

Please help us by answering some questions about your experiences on the website - this should take between 10-15 minutes, depending on your answers.

We'd also be grateful if you could share the questionnaire with others in your network who undertake monitoring and evaluation or manage it. Just send them the link. We're not only looking for responses from people who call themselves an 'evaluator', because the site is also intended to be used by people who do evaluation as part of their job or who manage evaluation.  And it's not only for frequent users of the site -  we're also looking to talk to people who haven't used the site at all or who use it only occasionally. If you'd like to contact us directly about the project or how to get involved, email us here.

We're keen to hear from a broad spectrum of people in different roles and from different sectors so that we can make sure we're meeting the needs of our diverse user groups.

By completing this survey, you'll have a chance to win one of three evaluation books:

Developing Monitoring and Evaluation Frameworks 

Sage, 2016
This book, written by Anne Markiewicz and Ian Patrick, offers a step-by-step guide to developing a monitoring and evaluation framework. 

Principles-Focused Evaluation The GUIDE

The Guilford Press, 2017
This book by Michael Quinn Patton introduces the principles-focused evaluation (P-FE) approach and demonstrates its relevance and application in a range of settings.
Mystery book!
To be advised!
After receiving feedback via this survey about the challenges users face in their monitoring and evaluation work, we'll decide on what content area this third book prize will focus on. Stay tuned!

Thank you very much for your help.

Birthday Gift

Finally, to say thank you to everyone for all of your support and interest during the last five years, we've gathered together some downloadable resources that we'd encourage you to print and share with your networks as a kind of 'pass it on' birthday present:

Looking for an overview of the “evaluation toolbox”.  This set of documents includes:

1) The 2-page overview of the Rainbow Framework which lists the 34 tasks involved in evaluation, organised into 7 clusters

2) The 7-page detail of the Rainbow Framework, which lists all over 300 methods and processes, organised in terms of the 34 tasks, along with 22 approaches to evaluation – with hotlinks to pages on the BetterEvaluation site

3) A set of documents which provide a brief description on each of the methods and processes and the approaches.

You can print these as simple double-sided pages on A4 or Letter sized paper. Or you can choose a booklet style which produces handy-sized reference documents.

Package icon Rainbow (1.62 MB)  

Interactive: See how BetterEvaluation has changed!

Slide the centre line from left to right to see how the homepage has changed! 

For those interested, this interactive graphic was made with Juxtapose, which is part of the Knight Lab Storytelling Toolset.

 BetterEvaluation's top Rainbow Framework pages since 2012:

The 300 plus methods and processes included in the Rainbow Framework are organised around 34 different tasks grouped into 7 clusters.  Our top task pages for each cluster over the past five years:

Our most visited approach pages are:

(Back to top)

A special thanks to this page's contributors
CEO, BetterEvaluation.
Director, Evaluation Capacity Strengthening, BetterEvaluation.
Melbourne, Australia.
BetterEvaluation Knowledge Platform Manager, BetterEvaluation.
Melbourne, Australia.
UX Designer / Information Architect, BetterEvaluation.
Melbourne, Australia.


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