Applying evaluation criteria thoughtfully

This guidance aims to help evaluators better understand the OECD-Development Assistance Committee (DAC) criteria and improve their use.

The OECD-DAC evaluation criteria are widely referenced in evaluations of international development and humanitarian projects, programmes and policies. The criteria were revised in 2019 to include improved definitions of the original criteria: relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability. The new criterion of coherence was also added to better capture linkages, systems thinking, partnership dynamics, and complexity.

Although they have been widely used in evaluation, and beyond, for over 25 years this resource is considered to be the first to comprehensively explore the concepts in detail, explain their intended use and offer practical guidance.


OECD (2021). Applying evaluation criteria thoughtfully. OECD Publishing, Paris. Retrieved from:

'Applying evaluation criteria thoughtfully' is referenced in: