Evaluations that make a difference

This collection gathers eight stories from around the world about evaluations that have made a difference to the lives of people.

These stories collectively represent a range of approaches to evaluation, making it clear that there is no one 'right' way to do evaluation that leads to improvements in people’s lives. This project was supported through an EvalPartners-Innovation Challenge grant, which aimed to strengthen the demand for and use of evaluation to inform policymaking during the International Year of Evaluation (2015).

This resource was suggested by Martha McGuire. The information provided was supplied by Alice Macfarlan. This resource is available in English, Spanish and French.

Authors and their affiliation

Editorial board: Burt Perrin (EES), Rochelle Zorzi (CES), Pablo Rodriguez-Bilella (ReLAC), Scott Bayley (AES), Serge Eric Yakeu (AfrEA), Soma De Silva (SLEvA).

Key features

Evaluations that make a difference is a collection of eight evaluation stories from around the world which is one of the first pieces of systematic research looking at factors that contribute to high quality evaluations that are used by stakeholders to improve programs and improve people’s lives.  This initiative collected stories about evaluations that made a difference, not only from the perspective of the evaluators but also from the commissioners and users.  The stories in this collection tell powerful stories about the findings in the evaluations and the ways the evaluations contributed to the impact of the programs.

The report analysed the factors that contributed to making the evaluations useful, yielding insights about the enablers of a valuable evaluation.

How have you used or intend on using this resource?

This resource can be used to inspire policymakers, managers, and programme staff to use evaluation by demonstrating the potential benefits in a concrete and engaging way.

Readers can apply the insights from the analysis of factors that contributed to the evaluations' usefulness to enhance the value of their evaluations.

Why would you recommend it to other people?

This collection of stories addresses some fundamental questions about determining the value of an evaluation:

What are the benefits? How are they expressed? Can they be measured? Can they be described in economic or other terms that make sense to citizens and to policymakers? What factors contribute to making an evaluation more or less valuable? 

To help answer these questions, these stories collectively represent a range of approaches to evaluation, making it clear that there is no one ‘right’ way to do evaluation that leads to improvements in people's lives.


Perrin, B., Zorzi, R., Rodriguez-Bilella, P., Bayley, S., Yakeu, S., & De Silva, s. (Eds.) (2015). Evaluations that make a difference.