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Last updated: 13/01/2006

Methodological bases
Use of an evaluation (Why?)


Users of an evaluation


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Who do we mean?

Evaluation is intended for a variety of users:

  • policy-makers and intervention's designers
  • managers, partners and operators involved in the implementation
  • institutions that granted funds and to which the managers of the intervention are accountable
  • public authorities that conduct related or similar interventions
  • actors in civil society
  • experts.

What is the purpose?

To optimise the usefulness of the evaluation for the various partners, and especially:

  • To ensure that the evaluation meets the expectations of the targeted users, in a way and at a time that fulfils their needs
  • To ensure that the evaluation has the required credibility vis--vis the targeted users.


Policy-makers and designers

Policy-makers and designers use the evaluation to prepare the launching of new interventions, the reform of existing interventions, the choice of strategic orientations, and decisions on allocation of budgetary, human and other resources, etc.

They need information that:

  • is directly exploitable in the decision-making process,
  • arrives on time
  • answers their questions, clearly, concisely and reliably.

They are interested in strategic issues, external coherence and global impacts, which constitute the ultimate goal of the intervention.


Managers, partners and operators

The managers are responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the intervention, from headquarters to the field. The actors closest to the public are the operators. Field level operators may either belong to the EC or to partner organisations sharing the responsibility of implementation.

They use evaluation findings about the results of their action as a feedback.

They need information that arrives as early as possible to remedy problems or validate changes. They are able to interpret complex and technical messages.

They are interested in the direct results of the intervention, in the needs and behaviour of the targeted group, and in interactions between partners.


Other actors

The institutions that funded an intervention expect accountability. This applies to Parliament or the Council of Ministers, but also to all the co-funders. The taxpayers and citizens are also addressees of an evaluation.

The public authorities that conduct related or similar interventions are potential users of the evaluation, especially in the form of transfer of lessons learned. The same applies to the expert networks concerned by the intervention.

Finally, an evaluation is likely to be used by the actors in civil society, especially those representing the interests of the beneficiary groups.



  • From the launch phase, draw up an inventory of the potential users and classify them in the above categories.
  • Question key informants to understand the users' expectations.
  • Choose the expectations to focus on, especially in relation to the challenges and responsibilities of the institution that initiated the evaluation.
  • Draw up a communication and dissemination plan suited to the main users targeted.
  • Take into account the different levels of information in relation to the users: strategic for the decision-makers, technical and operational for the managers, general for outside actors.