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Figure 1. Decision tree: Who should conduct the evaluation?

Who should conduct the evaluation?

Do we have the expertise to find out if the program works?

If the answer is Yes, enough: then the evaluation is done entirely in house;

Pros:

  • Existing, deeper knowledge of agency, program and systems;
  • May reduce costs;
  • Makes use of existing practice wisdom;
  • Are already part of the agency structure and culture;
  • Can draw on existing relationships with clients and stakeholders; and
  • Opportunity to build skills

Cons:

  • May not have sufficient skills to do the evaluation well
  • May need to redistribute internal staff and resources, possible impact on service delivery
  • Adds to staff workload
  • Can be difficult to be objective

If the answer is Yes, some: then the evaluation could be done partly in house, partly in collaboration with external evaluator

Pros:

  • Introduces an outside perspective - adds a degree of objectivity;
  • Increases perception of independence of the evaluation;
  • Make use of in house knowledge and systems;
  • Draws on consultant expertise and experience of other evaluations;
  • Opportunity for staff to acquire new knowledge and skills; and
  • Reduces need to redistribute internal resources

Cons:

  • Can be costly;
  • Lack of knowledge and understanding of the program – time required to get up to speed; and
  • Evaluator seen as an “outsider”

If the answer is No: then the evaluation is done solely by external evaluation professional

Pros:

  • Increases objectivity - offers an external perspective;
  • Reduced workload – less direct involvement of staff;
  • Make use of greater knowledge and expertise in technical aspects of evaluation;
  • Can be more efficient; and
  • May be less expensive than doing evaluation badly

Cons:

  • Can be expensive;
  • Lack of knowledge and understanding of service type, agency culture; and
  • Lack of knowledge and understanding of the program/target group – time is required to get up to speed

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