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Publication Date: January 2010
What Do I Look For?
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What Do I Look For?

Roles and Responsibilities

After the hiring committee has familiarized itself with the capabilities it needs in a local evaluator, it should define the evaluator’s roles and responsibilities. Involve the evaluator in the evaluation process as early as possible to help you figure out what you need to evaluate, what approach you will use for the evaluation, and how the evaluation will be carried out (e.g., who will do what, when, and with what result). This helps foster a working relationship between the evaluator and the partners and provides the evaluator with a deeper understanding of the goals and objectives of your program.

The evaluator will work with you and your partners to develop an overall evaluation plan and determine how best to accomplish the evaluation’s goals. For example, the evaluator should work with everyone to assess the needs of the community to make sure that programs are designed to best meet the needs of the target population. (See the Guide to Conducting a Needs Assessment in this series for more information on planning and implementing a needs assessment.) The evaluator also will need to ensure that the findings from the needs assessment are used to help develop and refine services. Services should then be assessed to determine how effectively the target population’s needs are met: Are the right services being offered? Are the right organizations present and working on the initiative? Information to help you and the local evaluator design your evaluation, including formulating evaluation questions, is provided in the Guide to Performance Measurement and Program Evaluation in this series.

Findings from the needs assessment will tie directly to program development and refinement; therefore, it may be useful to hire an evaluator who can help with both phases of the evaluation. Doing so may be more cost effective and will help the evaluator to have the bigger picture in mind when it comes time to evaluate services. Involving the evaluator from the start will increase evaluator buy-in and understanding of the entire project. Remember that the local evaluator cannot work in isolation but should collaborate with you and key partners to develop and implement the best needs assessment or evaluation possible.

The evaluator must ensure that the rights of the human subjects of the study (e.g., victims) are protected from any harm that may occur from being involved in the needs assessment or evaluation. Protecting human subjects is something an evaluator knows a great deal about that may be unfamiliar to some of your partners, making this another area in which an evaluator plays a key role. Additional information about protecting human subjects is provided in the Guide to Protecting Human Subjects in this series.

A detailed description of the roles and responsibilities of a local evaluator and the level of expertise needed to carry out each function is provided in appendix A (PDF 23.2 KB).