Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) ensure project accountability, efficiency and effectiveness. Evaluation is the systematic collection and assessment of information related to the outcomes, operation or process of a project. Monitoring is an interim and ongoing activity of evaluation, occurring during the process of implementing a project. You need to organize your project into a logical framework to make a systematic evaluation plan. The approach you need depends on the objective and type of evaluation.
Forms of Evaluation
Types of evaluation include formative, summative, process, outcomes and impact. Formative evaluation focuses on early phases of a project. Summative evaluations determine the effectiveness of a project. Process evaluation assesses a project's implementation. Outcomes evaluation determines the changes resulting from a project. Impact evaluation describes the long-term effects of a project. Comprehensive M&E includes all of these forms of evaluation at the appropriate time. Your logic framework assists in determining the necessary indicators for each type of evaluation.
Collaborative, Participatory and Empowerment Evaluation
Bringing stakeholders into the evaluation process is important in process, outcomes and impact evaluations. Collaborative evaluation requires a substantial degree of coordination between evaluators and stakeholders. Participatory evaluation fully engages stakeholders with evaluators acting only as "critical friends." Empowerment evaluation gives control of the evaluation to participants with the evaluator serving as facilitator. These approaches build evaluation capacity within an organization, lend credibility to the evaluation activities and results, and provide a voice to stakeholders.
Qualitative evaluation renders detail-rich case studies, personal stories and experiences. This form of evaluation helps assess process and human impacts. The three main tools of qualitative inquiry are interviews, observations and documents. Focus groups and visual documentation also support qualitative evaluation. Participatory action research projects, such as participatory video, also provide unique qualitative evaluation data.
Quantitative evaluation focuses on statistical and numerical data. Data is collected through surveys, experiments or numerical analysis of other sources. It is possible to analyze qualitative data through coding, which enables the data to be statically represented. Data visualizations, such as graphs, convey your quantitative results in an easy-to-understand way, making them useful for evaluation reports.