When should they be determined?
Earlier or later in the evaluation process
If the target is derived from a verifiable objective or a performance framework, then it can be determined at the very first stage of the evaluation process.
If the target is derived from an outside benchmark, then it should be identified during the early stages of the evaluation. However, the process may involve the gathering of secondary data with a view to specifying the benchmark, as well as a careful examination of comparability. This means that the target will not be completely defined in the first phase of the evaluation.
If the target is to be derived from the best practices discovered within the intervention by the evaluation team, it will be determined in the synthesis phase.
After choosing the judgement criterion
Determining the target takes place in a three-step process:
- Choice and finalisation of the evaluation question.
- Choice of the judgment criterion (or criteria).
- The targets, the indicators and the sources of information are determined together in the third step.
Evaluation targets and others
When the evaluation question pertains to an intended result or impact, the target level is usually derived from a verifiable objective or borrowed from a performance assessment framework.
Performance monitoring may however be of little or no help in the instance of evaluation questions relating to cross-cutting issues, sustainability factors, unintended effects, evolving needs and problems, coherence, etc.