Evaluation Questions Checklist for Program Evaluation

Created by Lori Wingate and Daniala Schroeter, the purpose of this checklist is to aid in developing effective and appropriate evaluation questions and in assessing the quality of existing questions. It identifies characteristics of good evaluation questions, based on
the relevant literature and the authors' own experiences with evaluation design, implementation, and use. 

This resource was contributed to BetterEvaluation by Lori Wingate. The information below was provided by Alice Macfarlan.

Authors and their affiliation

Lori Wingate, The Evaluation Center, and Daniela Schroeter, School of Public Affairs and Administration, Western Michigan University 

Year of publication


Type of resource


Key features

This checklist distills and explains criteria for effective evaluation questions. It clearly lays out some key ideas about what a good evaluation should and should not look like, and why.

The criteria it lists are:

  • Evaluative (rather than non-evaluative)
  • Pertininent (rather than peripheral)
  • Reasonable (rather than unreasonable)
  • Specific (rather than vague)
  • Answerable (rather than unanswerable)
  • and complete (rather than incomplete)

It is housed on the Evaluation Center at Western Michigan University's website on their Evaluation Checklist page, which has a number of other useful checklists on other areas of evaluation. 

Who is this resource useful for?

  • Commissioners/managers of evaluation
  • Evaluation users
  • Evaluators
  • Those involved in evaluation capacity strengthening
  • Other – other stakeholders who might be consulted in the evaluation planning process

How have you used or intend on using this resource?

I think this is a really useful tool for both self-reflection when narrowing down the scope of an evaluation from 'everything about the program you'd like to know' to 'what is the most important, reasonable, and feasible to know', and as something to take to a meeting with stakeholders who all have their own, long lists about what they think is most important to know, to help frame the, sometimes difficult, conversation around what the key evaluation questions can and should be.

Why would you recommend it to other people?

This checklist is deceptively simply, which makes it a really easy tool to digest and use, as well as share with colleagues and stakeholders. What's really useful is the fact that it's grounded in theory and experience from practice, and the resources and recommended reading are a really comprehensive list of resources for going into more depth about the process of writing good questions. 


Wingate, L. and Schroeter, D. (2016). Evaluation Questions Checklist for Program Theory. Retrieved from: https://wmich.edu/sites/default/files/attachments/u372/2016/eval_questions_checklist-2016-03.pdf

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A special thanks to this page's contributors
Director of Research, Western Michigan University.
Kalamazoo, United States of America.


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