Evaluation Methods - Methodological Bases for Evaluation Vol. 1

The European Commission has developed and formalised a methodology for evaluating its external assistance, in which the priority is on results and impacts. The aim is to maintain the quality of its evaluations on a par with internationally recognised best practice. 

These methodological guidelines are designed to facilitate the move towards an evaluation practice focused more on programmes and strategies. It is intended mainly for:

  • evaluation managers at European Commission headquarters and in the Delegations,
  • external evaluation teams. 

The printed version of these guidelines consists of four volumes:

This first volume presents the basic concepts and their articulation.
  1. The  second volume is a handbook for "Geographic and Thematic Evaluation". It pertains to the evaluation of the entire set of Community actions on the scale of a country or region, and the  evaluation of all actions relative to a sector or a theme on a global scale.
  2. The third volume is a handbook for "Project and Programme Evaluation". It concerns large projects, pilot projects, multi-country programmes and any other project or programme for which an evaluation is required.
  3. The fourth volume "Evaluation Tools" presents the main techniques available for  structuring an evaluation, collecting and analysing data, and assisting  in the formulation of value judgements.  

EC (2006) Methodological bases for evaluation. p13


"Evaluation of a programme"

"A programme is a set of simple, homogeneous interventions clustered in order to achieve global objectives. It is delimited in terms of time schedule and budget and usually placed under the responsibility of a monitoring committee. A homogeneous programme is made up of parallel and similar projects. The evaluation of a homogeneous programme can consist in a synthesis of project evaluations or an extrapolation from a sample of projects."

EC (2006) Methodological bases for evaluation. p17



  • Introduction
  • The Evaluation Process 
  • Timing of the evaluation
  • Use of the evaluation
  • The players and their roles
  • On options
  • Intervention strategy
  • Evaluation questions 
  • Judgement references 
  • Methodological design
  • Data collection
  • Analysis
  • Judgement
  • Quality assurance
  • Glossary


Joint Evaluation Unit for the DirectoratesGeneral EuropeAid &  Development and Foreign Affairs of the European Commission. 2006 Evaluation options For the european union’s External assistance Methodological bases For evaluation Volume 1, Luxemburg, France. European Communities, 2006. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/evaluation/methodology/examples/guide1_en.pdf