Purposes of evaluation

This tool from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) provides an overview of the most frequent reasons for undertaking programme evaluations.

The content is based on a review of evaluation literature from academia and international development agencies such as the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).

The toolkit is a supplement to the UNFPA programming guidelines. It provides guidance and methods for UNFPA Country Office staff to improve planning, monitoring and evaluation (PM&E) activities in the context of results-based programme management. It is also useful for programme managers at headquarters and for national programme managers and counterparts. 


" Before evaluating a programme, the reasons for the evaluation should be clearly defined.  If the purpose is not clear, there is a risk that the evaluation will focus on the wrong concerns, draw the wrong conclusions and provide recommendations which will not be useful for the intended users of evaluation results."  (UNFPA 2004 p1)


  • Introduction
  • Why define the evaluation purpose?
  • Three common evaluation purposes
  • Box 1. Three Common Evaluation Purposes
  • Who uses what kind of evaluation findings?
  • Box 2. Programme Theory for Reducing Maternal Mortality
  • Box 3. Evaluation findings produced by UNFPA – the present and future
  • Requirements


United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Division for Oversight Services (2004). Tool Number 3: Purposes of Evaluation, Programme Managers Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation Toolkit. Retrieved from: https://vietnam.unfpa.org/en/publications/programme-managers-planning-monitoring-evaluation-toolkit