How to Write an Evaluation Report

Whether you are monitoring or evaluating, at some point, or points, there will be a reporting process. This reporting process follows the stages of analyzing information.

You will report to different stakeholders (Board, Management team, Staff, Beneficiaries, and Donors) in different ways, sometimes in written form, sometimes verbally and, increasingly, making use of tools as Power-point presentations, slides and videos.

A written evaluation report may be prepared in line with the following format; these are the components of an evaluation report.

Components of an evaluation report

  1. Executive summary.
  2. Preface.
  3. Content page.
  4. Introduction.
  5. Findings.
  6. Conclusions.
  7. Recommendations.
  8. Appendices.

The executive summary is intended for time-constraint readers but must be attractive to make people curious so that they want to read the entire report.

A preface is a place where you become courteous to thank people and make broad comments about the processes and findings.

The introductory section is designed to deal with the background of the project, the need for the evaluation, and the entire activity in a nutshell.

The findings section will accommodate the results about the efficiency, effectiveness, and impact thereof that have emerged.

The conclusions you draw will follow your findings, while your recommendations will address weaknesses followed by what needs to be done to strengthen the programs being evaluated.

Include your Terms of References (TOR), a questionnaire used in the evaluation, and any other reference documents in the appendices, which you could not accommodate inside the text.

Here is an example of an outline of writing an evaluation report adapted from the UNICEF Guide “Program Manager’s Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation Toolkit (2006):

Evaluation Report: Suggested Outline

Title page

  • Name of project/program or theme being evaluated
  • Country of project/program or theme
  • Name of the organization to which the report is submitted.
  • Names and affiliations of the evaluators.

Table of contents

  • Identify the chapters and major sections along with the page numbers.
  • List of tables, graphs, and charts by page numbers.

Acknowledgments

  • Identify those who contributed to the evaluation.

List of acronyms/abbreviations

  • For example:

TOR: Terms of reference
MCWC: Maternal and Child Welfare Centre
NGO: Non-Govt. Organization

Executive summary

  • A self-contained paper of 1-3 pages.
  • Summarize essential information on the subject being evaluated, the purpose and objectives of the evaluation, methods applied, and significant limitations, the most important findings, conclusions, and recommendations in priority order.

Introduction

  • Describe the project/program/theme being evaluated. This includes the problems that the interventions are addressing; the aims, strategies, scope, and cost of the response; its key stakeholders and their roles in implementing the intervention.
  • Summarize the evaluation purpose, objectives, and key questions. Explain the rationale for the selection/non-selection of evaluation criteria.
  • Describe the methodology employed to conduct the evaluation and its limitations, if any.
  • List who were involved in conducting the evaluation and what their roles were.
  • Describe the structure of the evaluation report.

Findings and conclusions

  • State findings based on the evidence derived from the information collected. Assess the degree to which the intervention design is applying results-based management principles. In providing a critical assessment of performance, analyze the linkages between inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes, and if possible impact. Summarize the achievement of results in quantitative and qualitative terms. Analyze factors that affected performance as well as unintended effects, both positive and negative. Discuss the relative contributions of stakeholders to the achievement of the results.
  • Conclusions should be substantiated by the findings and be consistent with the data collected. They must relate to the evaluation objectives and provide answers to the evaluation questions. They should also include a discussion of the reasons for successes and failures, especially the constraints and enabling factors.

Lessons learned

  • Based on the evaluation findings, the overall experience in other contexts, and whenever possible, provide lessons learned that may be applicable in different situations as well. Include both positive and negative lessons.

Recommendations

  • Formulate relevant, specific, and realistic recommendations that are based on the evidence gathered, conclusions made, and lessons learned. Discuss their anticipated implications. Consult key stakeholders when developing the recommendations.
  • Provide suggested timelines and cost estimates (where relevant) for implementation.

Annexes

  • Attach a TOR (for the evaluation).
  • List persons interviewed, sites visited.
  • List documents reviewed (reports, publications).
  • Append the data collection instruments (e.g., copies of questionnaires, surveys, etc.).

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