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Last updated: 13/01/2006

Methodological bases
Use of an evaluation (Why?)


Use of the evaluation (why?)


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The evaluation users

The evaluation is addressed to a variety of users:

  • Policy makers and intervention designers
  • Managers and operators in charge of the implementation.
  • Partners
  • Institutions having provided financing and to whom accountability is required
  • Public authorities conducting connected or similar interventions
  • Civil society organisation
  • Experts

Types of use

An evaluation may help to make decisions, to articulate judgments and/or to know and understand. The first type of use encompasses the second (judging is essential to be able to make a decision), which itself encompasses the third (understanding is essential to be able to judge).

Assisting decision-making

The evaluation may be conducted for the benefit of those who are going to decide or negotiate a change in the evaluated intervention. In such cases, it is used to adjust the implementation, to modify the intervention strategy or to redefine political orientations.

The main mechanism through which evaluations are used by decision-makers is called feedback. Recommendations are essential to that type of use, as is their follow-up.

Assisting judgement

The evaluation may be targeted at a wider range of interested parties in order to help them formulate their own value judgments on the intervention's merits. In addition to decision-makers, this use may extend to political institutions (e.g. Parliament), partner countries, civil society, media and, ultimately, the citizens, with an aim to inform public opinion.

The main mechanism through which evaluations are used for formulating judgements is accountability. Conclusions are essential to that type of use, as well as transparent judgement criteria (also called reasoned assessment criteria").

Knowing and understanding

Finally, the evaluation may help to learn from the intervention, to better understand what works and what does not, and to accumulate knowledge. Indirectly, it contributes to transferring knowledge thereby acquired, to the benefit of professional networks that may not have a direct link with the evaluated intervention.

Identifying good practices and transferable lessons are essential to that type of use.


The dissemination of the evaluation

The dissemination concerns the way in which the evaluation's final report can be made known, but also every other way in which findings, conclusions, lessons learned and recommendations can be made known. The dissemination is targeted to the Commission services, external partners, expert networks, the media and the general public.

Writing an introductory text

Aware of the fact that evaluation reports are frequently available on the web, we would like to publish short texts in order to present the evaluation in a way that is easily accessible and attractive for the various publics.

Presenting an evaluation at a seminar

In an environment of overabundance of written information, an effective means to reach the potential users consists in presenting the results of the evaluation in meetings or seminars.