Rainbow Framework

Also Available In: Portugues

This tool can help you to plan an evaluation by prompting you to think about a series of key questions. It can be used to develop a complete evaluation plan, or to undertake a discrete task such as documenting agreements in the evaluation Terms of Reference.  It is important to consider the issues raised in all of the following evaluation planning questions, including reporting, at the beginning of an evaluation.

This file is a PDF (307 KB)

BetterEvaluation organises options into 32 different evaluation tasks, grouped by 7 colour coded clusters to make it easier for you to choose and use appropriate methods, strategies or processes.

Each of the inpidual clusters of the tool is laid out in a table checklist that identifies the task and the relevant evaluation planning questions and options (methods or strategies) that can be applied in each case.


Manage - Manage an evaluation (or a series of evaluations), including deciding who will conduct the evaluation and who will make decisions about it.

Define - Develop a description (or access an existing version) of what is to be evaluated and how it is understood to work.

Frame- Set the parameters of the evaluation – its purposes, key evaluation questions and the criteria and standards to be used.

Describe - Collect and retrieve data to answer descriptive questions about the activities of the project/program/policy, the various results it has had, and the context in which it has been implemented. 

Understand Causes - Collect and analyze data to answer causal questions about what has produced outcomes and impacts that have been observed.

Synthesize - Combine data to form an overall assessment of the merit or worth of the intervention, or to summarize evidence across several evaluations.

Report and Support Use - Develop and present findings in ways that are useful for the intended users of the evaluation, and support them to make use of them.


BetterEvaluation (2014) BetterEvaluation Rainbow Framework and Planning Tool. Retrieved from www.betterevaluation.org

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amarques's picture
Ana Marques

Empowering resource! Extremely informative and analytical. Thank you.

Nick Herft's picture
Nick Herft

Hi Ana,

Thanks for your feedback. We'd appreciate any additional feedback you have to offer regarding how you've used the Rainbow Framework. Feel free to add your feedback here or use the contact form.

Kind regards,

Anonymous's picture
Philip Adolwa

I am unable to download the PDF version of the framework. Is there a limitation on who can access the content?

Alice Macfarlan's picture
Alice Macfarlan

Hi Philip,

Thank you for getting in touch, and I'm sorry you are having difficulty. There are no limitations on who can access the Rainbow Framework - it is available to registered and non-registered users, and the download appears to be working for me.

You could try accessing the download from a different page: https://www.betterevaluation.org/rainbow_framework/downloads

Or, if you still encounter difficulty, please reach out to me via the contact form at the bottom of the page and I can email you a copy.

Kind regards,


laoeval2021's picture
Lao Abalo BADJO


Very useful tool and thanks for the support.

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