Write evaluation report

Anchor the interpretation the evaluation data to the original evaluation questions. Create a list of recommended actions that address your outcomes, and use this information to create the materials to communicate your findings. Presentation of findings can take many forms such as a written report, slide show presentation, and/or as a short informational video. Visual aids can be powerful methods for communicating evaluation results.

The types of reports (e.g. written or oral) should be defined in the Evaluation Charter. The purpose of this section is to present ideas about style, format, content, and the process of reporting information. These characteristics also influence the utility of evaluation findings. Charts/graphics are essential to capturing attention and communicating quickly. Tone, content, and language of a key message needs to be appropriate for its intended audience. Communicate sensitive information carefully. Develop clear, simple, action-oriented messages.

Reports on the evaluation findings could follow a number of formats (written and oral). In fact, written and oral delivery could be combined, as appropriate.

Formats for written reports include:

  • Executive summary, followed by a full report
  • Executive summary, followed by a few key tables, graphs, and data summaries
  • Executive summary only, and make data available for those interested
  • Newsletter article for dissemination
  • Press release

Formats for oral presentation include:

  • Oral presentation with charts
  • Short presentation followed with question/answer period
  • Discussion groups based on prepared written material
  • Retreat-like session with intended users
  • Video or audio taped presentation
  • Debate session regarding certain conclusions/judgements
  • Involve selected primary users in reporting and facilitating any of the above modes of oral presentation.

Decide on dissemination method

One main goal of evaluation is to produce and disseminate information that is useful for primary intended users. The process to develop “useful” information started when primary intended users and other stakeholders were engaged in identifying the intended use of the evaluation and the evaluation methodology.

The likelihood that evaluation findings are used is improved when evaluation findings are communicated directly with intended users of the evaluation (e.g. managers, decision-makers). Make results available to various stakeholders and audiences. Tailor what is disseminated to their specific interest in the evaluation and how they plan to use the results.

Discuss implementation of change based on findings

The use of evaluation findings (which may include implementation of recommendations) is likely more of a process than a single event. The purpose and expected use of evaluation findings is explored as part of the evaluation planning process should disseminate the information according to their intended use. Different purposes of evaluation lead to different uses of evaluation findings.

Evaluation findings can be used immediately in two ways:

Conceptual use: The evaluation produces new information about the program and this information changes how people understand the program and how it works (e.g. how it serves the intended target population). This information may be used to change the program (e.g. make adjustments to better meet needs of target population), but are not directed at a particular decision about the future of the program.

Instrumental use: Evaluation findings are directed at a particular decision for a specific program at a concrete point in time (e.g. end or expand a program).

There are many factors that influence how (and if) evaluation findings are used (e.g. existing knowledge, beliefs, values, budget and time constraints). It is more likely that evaluation findings are used (and recommendations implemented) when:

  • Intended users and use is accurately identified
  • Evaluation questions are answered in a clear way
  • Findings are accurate and relevant to intended users
  • Evaluation findings are communicated directly with intended users of the evaluation (E.g. managers, decision-makers)

Sharing and implementing changes based on evaluation findings and a review of best and promising practices will have important impacts on the quality and effectiveness of your program. Here are some suggestions:

  • Prepare a summary of your findings and lessons learned to share for discussion.
  • Seek stakeholder feedback on what you’ve learned about the program.
  • Organize a semi-annual staff and/or board meeting to discuss the outputs and outcomes of your program. Your original questions will help set priorities and guide your discussion.
  • Review your logic model (objectives and projected outcomes) and your results assessment questions.
  • Take time to explore the program design, systems and structures and discuss what is working and what is not working. Think about any modifications to the design of the program that would improve results.
  • Compare the costs and benefits of your program.