The value of an Evaluation Framework to gain insights and inform improvements

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Image made available by James Jordan under a CC BY-ND 2.0 licence.

In this blog post Sarah Goodier discusses her use of the ROER4D project as an example of an evaluation case study which highlights framework use.

For three years now I have been asked to present to the UCT Research and Evaluation of Emerging Technologies PGDip class (EDN4502W) on evaluation. Each year I have drawn on ROER4D and the evaluation work that has been conducted over the course of the project to provide a practical example.

For this year’s class, I highlighted the importance of choosing an evaluation framework to guide you as an evaluator, as well as the project stakeholders, through the process. Using a framework helps you to achieve a systematic approach by outlining a plan that guides you through your evaluation. There are many different frameworks with different purposes that you can draw on for an evaluation. The context of your evaluation is a key deciding factor in the framework choice overall as well as which element of a framework it would be best to draw on. Despite the differences, most frameworks will help you in:

  • Planning the evaluation process (what needs to happen, when)
  • Identifying the key stakeholders
  • Composing the appropriate key evaluation questions
  • Collecting and analysing appropriate data to answer these questions

ROER4D has used a utilization focused evaluation framework (Patton, 2008; Ramirez & Brodhead, 2013) throughout the project. This framework assists in:

  • Establishing the need for the evaluation and whether the programme is actually evaluable
  • Identifying why evaluate, for who and what information they need
  • Designing the evaluation and conducting the evaluation as planned
  • Making sure the results are used

For more information, please see the presentation slides or view the presentation below:

References:
Patton, M. Q. (2008). Utilization-focused evaluation. California: Sage Publications Inc.
Ramirez, R. and Brodhead, D. (2013). Utilization Focused Evaluation: A primer for evaluators. Penang: Southbound.

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