Evaluation and Improvement

Evaluation designs and results can be based on a set of assumptions and biases about how to do evaluation, which may reflect the perspective of the evaluation lead or program staff. These assumptions and biases can shape evaluation planning, making it difficult at times to see questions and issues that may be missing. For example, conventional research methods don’t tell us everything about how and why programs work, for whom they work, and in what circumstances. Additionally, they don’t adequately answer other process and implementation questions. Given the increasing complexity of addressing social problems, educating young children, and other situations we face today, it’s important to focus on which questions to pursue and what assumptions are guiding them.

Ensure that you have a clear understanding of the evaluator’s biases and assumptions about evaluation theory and practices. The evaluator should also be able to easily identify appropriate evaluation methods and approaches based on the purpose of the evaluation you want to conduct.