Importance Of Research Methods In Monitoring And Evaluation Pdf

importance of research methods in monitoring and evaluation pdf

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These constraints can result in excluding important components of the populations , if taken too literally.

Evaluation is a systematic determination of a subject's merit, worth and significance, using criteria governed by a set of standards. Evaluation is often used to characterize and appraise subjects of interest in a wide range of human enterprises, including the arts , criminal justice , foundations , non-profit organizations , government , health care , and other human services. It is long term and done at the end of a period of time.


Jump to navigation. Sometimes the same word is used but to mean quite different things; other times different words are used to mean the same thing. And, most importantly, many people are simply unaware that other people use these words in these different ways.

Since BetterEvaluation seeks to support discussion and learning across organisational, sectoral, and disciplinary boundaries, it is important for us to find ways to understand each other. This is the first in what we plan to be a series about key terms in evaluation. It sets out four different ways of thinking about research as compared to evaluation — and when these might be useful ways of using them. A perennial question on discussion forums, there are surprisingly different ways of thinking about how evaluation is different to research.

These can have important implications for how we plan, manage, conduct and train people to do evaluation — and communicate to others about the process and practice of evaluation. One of the most common ways of thinking about the difference between research and evaluation is as a dichotomy - two distinct and mutually exclusive categories.

Research is seen as more interested in producing generalisable knowledge, more theoretical, more controlled by the researchers — evaluation is seen as more interested in specific, applied knowledge, and more controlled by those funding or commissioning the evaluation.

Patton, Michael Quinn An activity can be BOTH research and evaluation — or neither. Research is about being empirical. Evaluation is about drawing evaluative conclusions about quality, merit or worth. Research that is not evaluation involves factual description without judgements about quality — for example, census data, interview data which collects descriptions. Evaluation that is not research involves making evaluative judgements without systematic collection of data — for example a connoisseur evaluator who produces a judgement without carefully gathering data.

Where they overlap is where the evaluative conclusions have been based on systematic data collection and analysis. Other types of research which are not evaluation include basic research, applied research which does not include evaluative conclusions.

This sees evaluation as a sub-set of research. Funny how this issue keeps coming up from time to time. Seems to me to be quite simple. Here's my view. Doing research does not necessarily require doing evaluation. However, doing evaluation always requires doing research. Of course, we can go on and on about how values and judgments infuse all human acts, including the act of research, and certainly the act of evaluation.

Nevertheless, the basic purpose of research is to observe and learn, while the basic purpose of evaluation is to assess and decide. Evaluation involves several different activities, including framing the purpose and scope of the evaluation, formalising decision making processes, deciding who will do what roles, gathering and analysising data, reporting and supporting use.

This view sees that research gathering empirical evidence is one of the tasks involved in doing an evaluation. The dichotomy between research and evaluation can be useful where it is important to highlight particular features of the evaluation process.

For example, Michael Patton, in an earlier discussion on EVALTALK, referred to situations where the primary intended users of an evaluation were worried about the evaluation because of their conceptualisation and previous experience with research:. Their perceptions of research tend to be that it is academic , laborious, esoteric, driven by publishing needs, and irrelevant.

Now, in the face of such perceptions, where they exist, one could respond with examples of research that do not fit this stereotype. I take a different approach. I prefer to position evaluation as different from research. The basis of the distinction I make derives from contrasting standards.

The Joint Committee Standards of Evaluation provide quite different criteria for judging evaluations that are not typically applied to research qua research, namely, utility and feasibility practicality. I find in my practice that my clients take comfort from and appreciate having evaluation distinguished from research. They understand that research methods will be used, but the purpose of evaluation is different from research, the timelines are often quite different, and the intended uses are dramatically different, as are the primary intended audiences for findings.

In other situations, other framings are more helpful. Many of my colleagues simply cannot understand how I can be a serious researcher if I am focusing on evaluation — which they associate with either low-quality contracted research, designed to support a previously made decision or action, or simply developing measures for achievement of stated objectives.

In an organisation looking at the portfolio of knowledge management activities it is funding, it can be useful to think of evaluation as a subset of research, so they can discuss how to invest in a range of types of research, including some which is not explicitly evaluative and some which is. When planning an evaluation, it can be useful to think of research as a subset of evaluation so that attention is paid to the processes of framing and managing an evaluation as well the specific research methods used to gather and analyse data.

The BetterEvaluation Rainbow framework explicitly tries to bring issues about these wider tasks in evaluation into the planning for evaluations. So how do you use these terms? What are the advantages of framing them in this way?

Are there other terms that would be useful to explore? Let us know in the poll or comments below. Thanks for these two additional examples of how the terms 'research' and 'evaluation' can have very different meanings. There are many different types of evaluation needed for effective organisations and programs, including product evaluation, personnel evaluation, as well as program and policy evaluation.

And, since each of these has particular requirements, we need to be thoughtful about taking a method from one situation and applying it to another. An interesting topic indeed. Thanks for this blog, Patricia. Only yesterday I was engaged in a debate with a colleague over the difference between evaluation and research is. If I must choose amongst the four categories, I would lean towards evaluation being a subset of research I look at research as a way of obtaining data or information while evaluation is what I do with that data or information - I make judgements of worth and value.

Ah yes - monitoring and evaluation. Another case where the terms can be used in different ways for particular purposes. This would also be good to explore. I tend to use the words evaluation, evaluation research, and research inter-changeably, because in my experience many evaluators and evaluation users use them inter-changeably.

For example, many studies that evaluate interventions are not clearly labelled as "evaluations". Many RFPs for evaluations ask for "research". If I need to explain how evaluation research is different from other research that people may be familiar with, I would say that it's different from purely theoretical work because the purpose of evaluation is to provide the best possible information to improve whatever is being evaluated.

That's what many people find, Elaine that the different definitions are useful for different purposes and situations. Please do share it with your blog readers and let us know what they think. And good luck with you research - it's terrific to have PhDs being conducted on evaluation.

I have worked in the field of scientific research for a few years. Sometimes we worked on completely new tasks, while other times we worked on testing the validity and reliability of other people's work what I consider evaluation. Yet, I was never trained in evaluation, we used the same methods of research when we conducted evaluations, which I now think is wrong.

The clearest module to me, and the one that seems to reflect my current course of study, appears to be module 2, where research and evaluation are indeed separate entities but will overlap in purpose and practice when practical application of the research would be ready for employ. Yes, a great way to think about evaluation and how it differs with research is that evaluation is political. Its findings are commonly used for decision making. Research, on the other hand, is used to build on prior knowledge.

I truly appreciate your blog post and find your information that you shared quite insightful when differentiating between research and evaluation. I feel that many people group the two together or use the words interchangably and you provide a clear explanation of the differences that helps the reader discern between the two terms and clarifies that the two words are not synonomous.

Thank you for your enlightenment! This could indeed be a useful mindset in situations where an evaluative position comes under attack.

I am just wondering out loud though, do researchers who adhere to the transformative paradigm not change the specific program they are researching in the process of researching it? If so, then does this push this type of research even closer to the evaluation side? Our textbooks align with the part where you said, evaluation is about drawing evaluative conclusions about quality, merit or worth.

I see evaluation as a type of research because you can't evaluate something without first conducting research and gathering data. This post was very useful in summarizing the different views about contrasting research and evaluation. I enjoyed reading your blog and especially the Venn diagrams to clarify the perspectives about evaluation and research.

It is important to keep in mind that research generates generalizable knowledge and evaluation is driven by a need to measure effectiveness. As someone who doesn't work in the science field I've always had a general sense of the terms "research" and "evaluation" Whether it was for a school project or work-related event, those terms are thrown around so much that their meanings are often intertwined and can sometimes feel similar or at least related to each other.

I had never really given it much thought until now. The quote by Robert Endias about the end-product of each term really sums it up nicely and cleared up any confusion I had about the differences between the two.

This is a great lesson on the differences in research and evaluation. I had previously thought of research as a subset of evaluation and this article makes it even more clear for me. This article really helps me to differentiate between research and evaluation. Relating research to "testing" and evaluation to "determining" sums it up well for me. I had previously related research as a subset of evaluation and that belief is reinforced with this article.

Then the overlap with evaluation based on systematic research is clear. Thank you for this post, Patricia. I am currently enrolled in a graduate level course on educational research and evaluation, and your article was an interesting read that helped to clarify my understanding. I agree with your take on the usefulness of research vs. I now see that research is often done by scholars while evaluations are conducted by stakeholders in the field.

Something that is of interest to me is finding a study that is both research and an evaluation, following the mutually independent model, which is conducted by an expert who is also a stakeholder. Finding such a study where so much overlap in definitions would provide an interesting perspective with meaningful take-aways.

I am a graduate student at Arizona State University, and have been investigating the differences and similarities between research and evaluation.

Week 19: Ways of framing the difference between research and evaluation

Follow CompassforSbc. Click here to access this Guide in Arabic. It is a living document that should be referred to and updated on a regular basis. This will ensure there is a system in place to monitor the program and evaluate success. This guide is designed primarily for program managers or personnel who are not trained researchers themselves but who need to understand the rationale and process of conducting research. This guide can help managers to support the need for research and ensure that research staff have adequate resources to conduct the research that is needed to be certain that the program is evidence based and that results can be tracked over time and measured at the end of the program.

to monitoring and | Find, read and cite all the research you need on ResearchGate. evaluation methods; it also explores the importance.

How to Develop a Monitoring and Evaluation Plan

An evaluation can use quantitative or qualitative data, and often includes both. Both methods provide important information for evaluation, and both can improve community engagement. These methods are rarely used alone; combined, they generally provide the best overview of the project. This section describes both quantitative and qualitative methods, and Table 7.

Qualitative Methods in Monitoring and Evaluation: Thoughts Considering the Project Cycle

Jump to navigation. Sometimes the same word is used but to mean quite different things; other times different words are used to mean the same thing. And, most importantly, many people are simply unaware that other people use these words in these different ways.

What associations does this word bring to mind? Do you see evaluation as an invaluable tool to improve your program? Or do you find it intimidating because you don't know much about it?


As we monitor and evaluate projects, we use many different kinds of qualitative methods, and each of these methods gives us different kinds of data. Depending on our evaluation statement of work or performance monitoring plan, we use different methods on particular occasions to elicit certain kinds of data. As we craft our qualitative or mixed method evaluation designs, we should consider what qualitative methods we would use, and what kind of data those methods would give us. Evaluators have a large toolkit of qualitative methods, and we use each of these methods under different circumstances to gather different kinds of data. As Nightengale and Rossman explain, we need to decide what our unit of analysis will be; the number of sites that we will use; how we will choose those sites; what data we need; and what method will give us that data.

Open Access PDF.