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  EUROPA > European Commission > EuropeAid > Evaluation > Methodology > Guidelines > Geo-thematic
Last updated: 02/03/2006

Geographic and thematic evaluation
Guidelines for the evaluation team


Field phase (2)


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This guideline
• Overview
• Process scheme

Detailed guidance
• Preparation
• Desk
• Field
• Synthesis

Preparation as from the previous phases
Technical and financial proposal
  • Assumptions about the methodological design and evaluation tools to be implemented.
  • Field phase budget.
Inception report
  • Draft methodological design, including evaluation tools to be applied in the field phase.
  • Countries to be visited (if the evaluation covers several countries and the terms of reference do not specify which countries are to be visited) and projects / support to be studied in more depth in the next steps.
First phase report (desk)
National / regional consultants' availability and skills permitting, the tools are thoroughly developed and tested at the end of the first phase (desk). Failing that, the finalisation and testing of tools become part of the field phase.

The field phase takes place in one or several countries. Unless stated otherwise, the following points are applicable to each country involved.


The evaluation team leader organises the works:

  • Distribution of data collection tasks and responsibilities.
  • Definition of documents to be delivered and required level of quality.
  • Schedule of various tasks and agenda (or agendas per country) sent to the evaluation manager for information.
  • Conclusion of contracts with the national / regional consultants, if that still remains to be done.

The evaluation team leader briefs those who are responsible for the tasks:

  • Main predictable risks during field data collection works and how to behave in case a problem arises.
  • Need to strictly focus data collection on what is needed to answering the questions and to look for information relating to the selected judgement criteria (also called reasoned assessment criteria) and indicators as a priority.


Initial meeting

The evaluation team proposes to the Delegation to hold an information meeting within the first days of the field data collection process in the concerned country. The following points are covered in the meeting:

  • Presentation and discussion of the work plan.
  • How to access data and key informants within the national government and within the other donors' missions.
  • How to deal with and solve potential problems.

In certain cases, such points have already been covered on the occasion of a previous visit of the evaluation team leader to the Delegation, for instance, during a pilot mission at the inception stage.

Data collection and analysis

The evaluation team implements its field data collection plan. This guideline offers detailed advice for the implementation of major data collection tools: Interviews, Focus Groups, Questionnaire and Case Studies.

The evaluation team leader ensures that the tools have been appropriately tested and coordinates their implementation.

He/she is informed in case a problem arises and makes sure that the problems encountered will not weaken the answer to the evaluation questions. If appropriate, he/she appeals to the Delegation to help to solve the problem. If the solution to a problem requires the work plan to be adjusted, he/she informs the evaluation manager accordingly.

One or several meetings are held among the evaluation team members to :

  • Monitor and coordinate the progress of the works.
  • Identify unintended effects or external factors.
  • Derive provisional answers to the questions.
  • Start cross-checking data.

The evaluation team gathers the documents containing the collected data and their first analysis. These documents may be:

  • Minutes and syntheses of interviews.
  • Minutes and syntheses of focus groups.
  • Responses to a questionnaire and analysis tables.
  • Case study minutes and monographs.

At this point, the analysis done is not only exploratory (e.g., searching for unintended effects or external factors) but also confirmatory (e.g., testing the assumptions made at the end of the previous phase).

Quality control

The team leader checks the quality of the work, following in particular the quality criteria below:

  • Detailed presentation of the method actually implemented.
  • Compliance with work plan and/or justification for adjustments.
  • Compliance with confidentiality rules.
  • Self-assessment of biases and of the reliability of data.

The quality of the work is verified by an expert who is not part of the evaluation team.

This site offers detailed instructions for quality control of major data collection tools: interviews, focus groups, questionnaire and case studies.

Final meeting

The evaluation team offers the Delegation to hold a final meeting within the last days of the field data collection process in the concerned country. If held, this meeting deals with the following points:

  • Progress of the works, problems encountered and solutions adopted.
  • Most significant factual elements in the context of the partner country.
  • Preparation of a discussion seminar at the stage of the draft final report, if appropriate.

Country note

In the case of a global thematic or sector evaluation, the team draws up a country note and forwards it to the evaluation manager. The first country may be used to test the evaluation method.


This stage concerns the visited country (or countries altogether).

At the end of the field phase, the evaluation team leader participates in a debriefing meeting with the reference group.

His/her presentation is supported by (PowerPoint) slides and there are no minutes or approval. The presentation deals with the following points:

  • Reporting on field data collection works.
  • Problems encountered and solutions found.
  • Self-assessment of reliability of the collected data.
  • Particularly significant facts and findings in connection with the questions asked.
  • Next analysis and judgement steps.


Presentation for an evaluation:

  • at country level EN  (140 KB)
  • at regional level EN  (180 KB)