Evaluation Tools and Techniques

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SECT ION 5: DEVE LOPI NG AN D IMPLE M E NT I NG AN EVALUAT ION PL AN

EVALUATION METHODS
Although indicators identify what you will look at to determine whether evaluation criteria are met, they do not specify how indicator data will be collected. You must still decide which evaluation method(s) to use. For example, if we are interested in knowing whether a community campaign was successful in influencing how community members view their relationship with the environment, we may select attitudes toward recycling as the indicator of change. But how can we measure attitudes toward the environment? Could we use a questionnaire? Might personal interviews be appropriate? What other methods could we use? Just as a carpenter has many tools in his toolbox, evaluators also must have numerous tools at their disposal. The carpenter may have a saw, hammer, chisel, square, and drill. An evaluator’s toolbox may contain questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, and observation. Evaluators select the method best suited for the job. Selecting the right method involves many factors. Some methods are better for gathering quantitative data, others for qualitative data. Some are better for particular audiences than others. Some methods gather richer, deeper data than others do. When designing evaluation tools and selecting evaluation methods, it is useful to consider the cultural contexts of the communities in which programs operate. Here are some guiding questions to consider to ensure that evaluation methods and tools are culturally appropriate: ✶ Are data collection methods relevant and culturally sensitive to the population being evaluated? ✶ Have you considered how different methods may or may not work in various cultures? Have you explored how different groups prefer to share information (e.g., orally, in writing, one-onone, in groups, through the arts)? ✶ Do the instruments consider potential language barriers that may inhibit some people from understanding the

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