Understanding Evaluation: A Primer

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Garry Loewen

Year: 2009

For two decades now I have worked with many community based organizations and multi-sectoral collaborations on a wide variety of issues. Recently I have found those organizations focusing more and more on evaluation. The internal and external pressures to perform evaluations are strong. Executive Directors and Program Managers often find the demands daunting. In large part they feel they lack the resources to adequately fulfill the evaluation demands. Often they also feel they lack the expertise.

As I have found myself being drawn into the evaluation conversations I have discovered there are a wealth of resources available, but they take time and inclination to track down. So I have collected a variety of resources that try to answer some of the questions that groups seem to struggle with most.

This resource is far from comprehensive. It isn’t even really a proper primer. Evaluation is a huge subject, with enormous variety in terms of purposes, theories and methodologies. While there is some commonality to the various resources I have looked at over the past few months, the subject is so vast that there is great variability in the tables of contents of even introductory level resources. This resource contains an assortment of material I have collected from a variety of sources to respond to the questions I most often hear being asked.

I hope this resource helps you to develop an understanding of some basic concepts in evaluation, and points you to where you need to go to find out more.

Garry Loewen

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