Choosing appropriate evaluation methods tool

This tool contains a series of questions and prompts, the results of which provide an indication of which methods will and will not be appropriate to use.

The tool, available as a spreadsheet and accompanying guide, has been developed by evaluator Barbara Befani with Michael O’Donnell from Bond, and input from experts in 11 different evaluation methods.


The accompanying guide explains how to use the tools and provides further information on the evaluation methods it covers

"Now that some policy fields and institutions have expanded their horizons, recognising that the 'best' method or combination of methods is dependent on the evaluation questions, intended uses and attributes of the intervention and evaluation process, we are struggling to make and justify choices.

The tool presented ... is an attempt to improve this situation and the process of methodological choice, by helping users make an informed and reasoned choice of one or more methods for a specific evaluation. Its aim is not to necessarily provide a simple answer, but to refine, clarify and articulate the reasoning behind choice and have both commissioners and evaluators weigh pros and cons of possible options in a logical and structured way.

Although it can speed up and improve decision making, this tool is essentially a learning device: it helps the user learn about comparative advantages and weaknesses of methods, their specific abilities, and not less importantly their requirements. It builds on the 'Design Triangle' (Stern et al. 2012) idea that methods need to align with evaluation questions and programme attributes. It expands and reformulates the Design Triangle, by preserving the matching between methods and questions, and by unpacking the matching between methods and 'programme attributes' in two different dimensions: requirements and abilities (see below for definitions and dedicated sections). In addition, while the Design Triangle is a heuristic device for thinking about choices, the tool presented here takes the user through the decision-making process step by step."

(Befani & O'Donnell, 2016, p.3)


Befani, B. & O'Donnell, M. (2016) Choosing Appropriate Evaluation Methods: A Tool for Assessment and Selection. [Excel spreadsheet]. Bond. Retrieved from:

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