Beneficiary feedback in evaluation

The purpose of this paper, produced by the Department for International Development (DFID), is to analyse current practice of beneficiary feedback in evaluation and to stimulate further thinking and activity in this area.

While not intended as a practical guide, it does offer some recommendations related to improving beneficiary feedback in evaluation. The paper builds on a review of over 130 documents, 36 key informant interviews and a focus group, contributions from 33 practitioners, and an analysis of 32 evaluations containing examples of different types of beneficiary feedback.


"The paper provides: 

  • An analysis of current practice of beneficiary feedback within evaluation principles, standards and practice; 
  • A framework for applying beneficiary feedback within evaluation and; 
  • Practical tools for evaluation commissioners and practitioners. 

“Beneficiary feedback” is a highly contested term. There is diverse understanding of what it involves. In the absence of a definition of beneficiary feedback in evaluation, the paper proposes the following working definition as a first step to developing a shared understanding of the parameters of beneficiary feedback in evaluation: 
“A beneficiary feedback approach to development evaluation involves a one way or two way flow of information between beneficiaries and evaluators for the purpose of improving evaluation process, findings and use. It is a structured and systematic approach that cuts across all stages of evaluation - from design to dissemination. It is relevant to all types of evaluation design. It is not a subset of participatory evaluation; and goes beyond evidence gathering. It can engage both extractive and/ or participatory methods”. 

The paper argues that beneficiary feedback is relevant to each stage of the evaluation process and not just to data collection." (p.1)


Department for International Development (2015). Beneficiary Feedback in Evaluation. [Independent report]. Retrieved from: