Process use of evaluations: Types of use that precede lessons learned and feedback

This article by Forss, Rebien and Carlsson looks at the utilization or process use of evaluations which needs to occur before the lessons learned and recommendations are formulated.


"Among practitioners, it is often said that there is much that is useful that takes place during the evaluation process. The literature on the utilization of evaluation, however, mostly refers to lessons learned and recommendations implemented after the evaluation. This article seeks to contribute to the debate by exploring further the process use of evaluations — the evaluation use that takes place before lessons learned are generated and feedback processes are initiated.

Five different types of process use are identified: learning to learn; developing networks; creating shared understanding; strengthening the project; and boosting morale.

Most resources in an evaluation process are spent in preparation and implementation. Very little is spent on feedback. A conventional way of improving evaluation use would be to shift resources from the preparation and implementation stages to the feedback stage. The article argues that in general, shifting resources from preparation and implementation to disseminating results would jeopardize the quality of the entire evaluation because it would ceteris paribus reduce the design, data collection and analytical quality. Instead it is argued that evaluation commissioners and evaluators should work explicitly to increase process use as the most cost-effective way of strengthening the overall utility of an evaluation." (Forss et al., 2002)


Forss, K., Rebien, C. C., & Carlsson, J. (2002). Process use of evaluations types of use that precede lessons learned and feedback. Evaluation, 8(1), 29-45. Retrieved from

'Process use of evaluations: Types of use that precede lessons learned and feedback' is referenced in: