Canadian Evaluation Society Project in Support of Advocacy and Professional Development

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Like the programs we evaluate, program evaluation has inputs, activities, outputs, and outcomes. This is depicted in the diagram below.

Evaluation is conducted within a specific evaluation context. Social, political, cultural, economic, and other factors influence all aspects of the evaluation.

Evaluation inputs include funding, time, and other resources. For this project, we are concerned specifically with the knowledge elements (knowledge and skills) of the person or group of people conducting the evaluation.

Evaluation activities are what happen in the course of the evaluation, and they are manifested in evaluation outputs.

Evaluation outputs are the immediate results of the evaluation process. Typical outputs would include evidence, conclusions, and recommendations. Outputs can also include manifestations of stakeholder involvement in the evaluation process. The latter warrants specific consideration, because it is thought to affect evaluation utilization, and to result in benefits independently of the results of the evaluation .

Evaluation outcomes are realized when stakeholders use the outputs of an evaluation. Typical outcomes include increased program efficiency or effectiveness. Other outcomes might include increased understanding of a problem, or empowerment of a marginalized group. Although evaluation sometimes produces unintended negative outcomes, the focus of this project is on benefits, or positive outcomes. Evaluators with appropriate skills and knowledge should be in a better position to avoid unintended negative outcomes.

The aim of this project is to describe the evaluation inputs (knowledge and skills only), outputs, and benefits in more detail, and to demonstrate the links between them as well as possible.

Looking at the big picture

CES has decided to take a big-picture approach to the articulation of the Core Body of Knowledge by considering the benefits and outputs of evaluation along with the core knowledge elements. This approach strengthens our position for both advocacy and professional development. For advocacy purposes, we hope to demonstrate that the benefits attributed to evaluation do in fact result from evaluative activities. For professional development purposes, we hope to explain why each core knowledge element is essential for evaluation by demonstrating its link with well-defined evaluation benefits.

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Last Updated September 16, 2002
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