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.
- Institutions having provided financing and to whom accountability is required
- Public authorities conducting connected or similar interventions
- Civil society organisation
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).
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.
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.