- Achieving Foundation Accountability and Transparency
- A Practical Guide for Engaging Stakeholders in Developing Evaluation Questions
Different methods of evaluation are appropriate at different stages of a program and “can become an integrated managerial function in which data are continuously collected and used for decision-making and program improvement,” the authors write.
The lead author created an evaluation life-cycle framework that matches various methods of evaluation to the four phases of a program:
Five commentaries follow the main article and offer discussion of the life-cycle framework from the perspectives of an academic, an internal evaluator at a large nonprofit, a federal government evaluator, a Centers for Disease Control evaluator, and research staff at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
These last authors provide lessons learned about matching evaluation strategies to the program/evaluation life cycle: Start the evaluation at the beginning of the program and choose evaluators early; design evaluations with an understanding of the development state of a field; encourage mid-course corrections; and consider follow-up evaluations.
“For RWJF, the purpose of evaluation is learning,” they write, “for ourselves, for our grantees, for other foundations, for people running similar programs, and for the field at large.”