Write the evaluation report
What is it?
A report presenting the outcomes and impacts of the intervention, set against the baseline (or starting position) and against the aims and objectives, also covering the process followed and the return on investment achieved.
Why do this?
You will need a formal record of what you learned, both in terms of the process and the outcomes of your intervention effort. The people involved may change and memories may fade, so a written evaluation report ensures that the lessons learned will be available for future reference.
It will give you a foundation for future work, highlighting what remaining challenges still need to be dealt with. It will also be much easier to design future evaluation of the intervention, or what you develop in light of it, based on former experience rather than to develop an approach from scratch.
It will give you an important document to share with others who may be thinking about developing similar interventions, as it may help them design their approach more effectively.
How might you do this?
It is useful to start with a brief executive summary, outlining the aims of the intervention, what has been learnt, and the possible implications of this for key stakeholders who will be reading the report. More >
The executive summary provides an overview of the programme and highlights key findings and recommendations from the evaluation, giving the reader a sense of the report’s content without having to read the entire document.
Information for the main body of the report can be separated into the following sections:
- Overview of the project
- Project objectives
- Baseline data
- Evaluation methodology
- Analysis of results
- Demonstration of return on investment and cost benefit analysis
- Implications and recommendations for further activity
- A table of contents may help if the report is long
- Make sure that the context of the evaluation is clearly presented and the evaluation questions clearly stated
- Use meaningful headings to make it easier for the reader to skim-read the report and understand where to find more detailed explanation of points made in the executive summary
- Provide an explanation of how the findings have been derived - describing the methods used to collect and analyse the data, and the rationale for the approach used
- Take care to distinguish descriptive and contextual data from your interpretation
- It is helpful to present quantitative data as tables, pie charts or graphs, while qualitative data can be presented as descriptive themes
- When reporting your observations, be prepared to step back and reflect on what has influenced your approach to the evaluation and interpretation of the data
- Thank people who were involved in the evaluation, including respondents and external players such as a funding body
- Acknowledgments can be at the front or end of your report
- A written evaluation report
- A contribution to evidence-based understanding of what works or does not work in terms of encouraging behaviour change in your target audience