Internally or externally?

Who should do the evaluation?

You can conduct your own evaluation or have an external evaluator do some, or all of it, for you. This decision will depend upon whether the funder of the project requires external evaluation, whether you have evaluation skills within your staff, and whether you have funds to employ an external evaluator.

The following table offers some of the pros & cons of internal and external evaluation (adapted from Feuerstein M. Partners in Evaluation, and Yoland Wadsworth Everyday Evaluation on the Run).

Insiders doing the Evaluation

 

Outsiders doing the Evaluation


Benefits

  • Can have a deep understanding of project and its context
  • Likely to be developed trust with staff and community groups involved
  • Part of the organisational structure
  • A way of developing evaluation skills, critical reflection
  • Less costly 

Limitations

  • May not have time to devote to evaluation
  • May lack skills in evaluation
  • Harder to be objective
 
  

Benefits

  • Bring an outsider’s perspective
  • Can be viewed by funders as providing a more independent evaluation
  • Can provide a fresh look at the project
  • Provide evaluation expertise & experience from other evalutions
  • Can free up more time for the doing of the project 

Limitations

  • Greater cost considerations
  • Can have less knowledge of project and organisational and political environment
  • Not part of normal organisational structure
  • May require time to develop trust among staff and participate

 


Preparing for an evaluation Evaluation Indicators