If an organisation is unsure whether or not a programme, be it internal or external, such as a national programme, can be evaluated, Logue & O'Connor can undertake an Evaluability Assessment (EA) of that programme. An EA is a qualitative investigation employed before a programme is evaluated. EAs go further than merely providing information on whether the programme can be evaluated or not. EAs are used to describe the objectives, logic and activities of a programme with the aim of of investigating its credibility, feasibility, sustainability, and acceptability.
EAs address the likelihood of the programme achieving its anticipated outcomes, the required changes needed for optimum management, whether an evaluation can improve the programme's performance, and to identify stakeholder interests in the evaluation and how the findings can be used.
If an EA is efficiently conducted on a poorly designed programme, it has the potential to save programme staff and stakeholders time and funding resources that would be otherwise wasted if the programme were to continue operating unaltered.
The following specific aspects need to be addressed by an EA:
- obtaining perspectives of all involved in the programme e.g. programme staff and stakeholders
- investigating the programme's objectives, the methods to measure whether they were achieved
- providing information on how the programme functions
- identifying ways to improve the programme
- relaying important information about the programme
Rationale for an Evaluability Assessment
It is important to check that the programme is robust and that it is possible to measure and assess the results achieved following implementation. An independent Evaluability Assessment of the programme is a useful programming and management tool as it will provide (1) an appreciation of the relevance, coherence and strength of the programme's design; (2) strengthen the application of tools to track the performance of the programme and demonstrate results; (3) provide an indication of the readiness of outcomesto be evaluated; (4) ensure active implementation of the programme; and (5) ensure accountability. These constitute the overall goals of the Evaluability Assessment.
Conducting an Evaluability Assessment early on will validate the programme's continuing coherence and check if the means to measure progress and demonstrate results are in place.
Purpose and Objectives of an Evaluability Assessment
The purpose of the Evaluability Assessment is to determine the extent to which progress towards the objectives of the programme can be readily and reliably measured, monitored and evaluated. The Evaluability Assessment will examine evaluability in principle and in practice. More specifically, evaluability in principle will examine the clarity of design of the programme, whereas evaluability in practice will assess how the programme's theory has been operationally translated into practice. In addition, the exercise will provide guidance on approaches to the outcome evaluation of the programme.