About This Series
Publication Date: January 2010
minus iconWhat Are Performance Measurement and Program Evaluation?
What Are the Basic Steps?
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What Are the Basic Steps?

Apply the Basics

Applying what you have learned requires preparation and planning. Here is a five-step plan for preparing to evaluate your program:

Step 1: Clarify the focus of your evaluation. What is your purpose? Who is your audience?

Step 2: Assess your resources. Who will conduct the evaluation? What is your timeline for conducting this evaluation? What is your budget?

Step 3: Form an evaluation team, if possible. This team should include the independent evaluator you have selected, if appropriate, and/or program staff to brainstorm, provide rationale and guidance, and act as quality assurance overseers to ensure that you are conducting an efficient and effective evaluation. (Refer to the Guide to Hiring a Local Evaluator in this series for help in deciding who will conduct the evaluation.)

Step 4: Develop an evaluation plan. This plan serves as your roadmap for conducting the evaluation. Developing your plan involves reviewing program objectives, defining needs and questions, choosing an approach, and selecting indicators. This plan lists the concrete steps you will take during the evaluation process. See the sample evaluation plan template in appendix A (PDF 22.7 KB).

Step 5: Prepare an evaluation checklist. Although this information is included in your evaluation plan, the additional checklist serves as a quality assurance tool. An example of such a checklist is available in appendix B (PDF 57.2 KB). Use this checklist at each stage of your evaluation to ensure that you are making the right decisions as you implement your plan.


  • Conduct a needs assessment.
  • Define your goals and objectives.
  • Identify outcomes.
  • Formulate research questions.
  • Develop a program planning model.
  • Develop an evaluation design to include data collection methods and instruments.
  • Conduct the evaluation to include collecting and analyzing data.
  • Present and report your results.
  • Use evaluation results for overall program planning, refinement, or sustainability.

It is important to monitor your progress frequently and to identify any changes that are needed in your evaluation plan. Keep in mind that your plan is a roadmap to your evaluation, but it should not be viewed as set in stone. If something is not working, you need to correct it along the way to ensure a successful evaluation—one that produces the results you need to inform your future plans for services and demonstrate program effectiveness.