Templates, tools and resources

There are many evaluation templates, tools and resources used by entities across the Commonwealth, and in other jurisdictions, that may assist at different stages of an evaluation.

There is no one‑size‑fits all approach – it is important to select tools and templates that are fit for purpose based on the scale, scope, design and purpose of your evaluation. In some instances, expert advice on the application and use of certain tools and templates may be required.

Expand the tabs below to browse tools, templates, examples, case studies and additional resources that can be used to help assess the effectiveness, efficiency and/or appropriateness of government programs and activities. Please note, using these tools and templates is not mandatory.

While these resources are in line with better practice approaches, the application and use of any one tool, template or example for the evaluation of a specific program or activity is ultimately at the discretion of the manager responsible for the successful delivery of results.

Templates, tools and examples

The following templates were adapted from various sources and are in line with better practice approaches. The application and use of any one template for the evaluation of a specific program or activity in a particular context is ultimately at the discretion of the manager responsible for the successful delivery of results. Use of these templates is not mandatory.

These curated tools are based on approaches used by entities across the Commonwealth, and in other jurisdictions. The application and use of any one tool for the evaluation of a specific program or activity in a particular context is ultimately at the discretion of the manager responsible for the successful delivery of results. Use of these tools is not mandatory.

Examples of completed program logic and theory of change models include:

Examples of evaluation terms of reference include:

Example of a completed data/evaluation matrix is below:

Examples of entity level evaluation strategies, frameworks and policies from across the Commonwealth are below:

Examples of program or activity level evaluation frameworks and plans from across the Commonwealth include:

Examples of evaluation reports from across the Commonwealth are below:

Ethical and culturally safe evaluation

Guidelines for the Ethical Conduct of Evaluations
These Australasian Evaluation Society guidelines for ethical behaviour and decision making in evaluation are intended to foster continuing improvement in the theory, practice and use of evaluation by stimulating awareness and discussion of ethical issues.

Other good resources on ethics include:

AIATSIS Code of Ethics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research
The purpose of the AIATSIS Code of Ethics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research is to promote ethical and responsible practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research in Australia, to increase the contribution of Indigenous knowledge to Australian research, to ensure research has a positive impact for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and to continuously improve the quality and standards of research in this area.

AES First Nations Cultural Safety Framework
This Framework outlines the principles of culturally safe evaluation. It provides practical guidance on culturally safe evaluation in all phases of the evaluation process – from design, through to implementation, reporting and translating the learnings into policy and practice – as well as the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders in the evaluation process.

Productivity Commission's Indigenous Evaluation Strategy
This Strategy provides a proposed whole-of-government framework for Australian Government entities to use when selecting, planning, conducting and using evaluations of policies and programs affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Strategy, and its supporting guidance, puts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at its centre. It recognises the need to draw on the perspectives, priorities and knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people if outcomes are to be improved.

Indigenous Advancement Strategy Evaluation Framework (National Indigenous Australians Agency)
This Evaluation Framework is a guide for evaluation of programs and activities under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS), delivered by the National Indigenous Australians Agency. The principles and core values of the IAS Evaluation Framework align with the principles set out in the Productivity Commission's Indigenous Evaluation Strategy.

The goals of the IAS Evaluation Framework are to:

  • generate high quality evidence that is used to inform decision making
  • strengthen Indigenous leadership in evaluation
  • build capability by fostering a collaborative culture of evaluative thinking and continuous learning
  • emphasise collaboration and ethical ways of doing high quality evaluation at the forefront of evaluation practice in order to inform decision making
  • promote dialogue and deliberation to further develop the maturity of evaluation over time.

Central to the IAS Evaluation Framework is a commitment to working collaboratively, recognising the strengths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and cultures are integral to evaluation in the Indigenous Affairs policy context.

Statement on Cultural Competence in Evaluation
This resource refers to the American Evaluation Association’s Statement on Cultural Competence. Culturally competent evaluation ensures recognition, accurate interpretation, and respect for diversity in evaluation. Evaluators should ensure that the members of the evaluation team collectively demonstrate cultural competence.

Program evaluation standards and cultural competence [PDF 427KB]
This resource from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines strategies for evaluators to increase their cultural competency.

Involving children in evaluation
This article also has a section on how to become familiar with culturally competent evaluation.

Other relevant resources include:

Step-by-step resources

Three boxes are grouped and labelled “Planning and Budgeting; 1. Investigate context, 2. Set evaluation objectives, 3. Determine scope and approach”

1. Investigate context

Task: Understanding your operating context

The Public Entity Operating Environment
An overview of the different functions and common characteristics of public sector entities that may help you to better understand your operating context. While this site relates to Victoria, many of the contextual factors and considerations also apply in the Commonwealth public sector.

Task: Prioritising what should be evaluated

Evaluating strategically
This Northern Territory Government site provides information about when to use evaluation and how to determine appropriate evaluation scopes, designs and resourcing requirements.

Task: Clarifying the purpose and audience for an evaluation

Frame (BetterEvaluation)
This site articulates the importance of being clear and specific about the purpose and audience of an evaluation, and the questions that will be addressed.

Strategies to improve evaluation use and influence
This article identifies 3 strategies to support the constructive use of evaluation findings:

  1. identify intended users and uses of the evaluation
  2. anticipate barriers to use
  3. identify key processes and times when findings are needed across a series of reporting cycles.

2. Set evaluation objectives

Task: Clarify exactly what needs to be evaluated

AIFS Webinar: Working with evaluators: What do you need to know?
This one hour webinar discusses the importance of: clarifying upfront if you need an evaluation, and if so, being clear about its purpose, targeted in sourcing the right evaluation expertise, skills and partnerships, and constructive in the way results are used.

Task: Stakeholder engagement

Engaging stakeholders
This page provides some useful tools, checklists and worksheets to: identify key stakeholders and determine what matters to them during the planning stage and throughout the evaluation process.

APS framework for engagement and participation
This framework spells out the principles and standards that underpin effective engagement for Commonwealth entities.

Task: How will the evaluation contribute to the achievement of purposes

Who will use the findings of the evaluation
This site describes an evaluation approach that focuses on the end users of an evaluation.

3. Determine scope and approach

Task: Key evaluation question

Specify the key evaluation questions
This site provides information about how to develop key evaluation questions, including further guidance, tools, checklists and examples.

Identifying evaluation questions
This short article is for people new to evaluation who are planning to conduct or commission an evaluation. It focuses on evaluation questions and how to develop and prioritise them.

Task: Developing an evaluation plan

Planning an evaluation step by step
This guide and the accompanying templates will help you to clarify the purpose of your evaluation, select appropriate methods and have a clear plan and timeline for data collection and analysis. It is focussed on children and family programs, but can be generalised to all evaluations.

Key considerations for managing evaluations [PDF 477KB]
This guide outlines key things to consider including evaluation readiness, budgeting, selecting an evaluation team, developing terms of reference and working with consultants.

Task: Determining who should be involved in an evaluation

Commissioning an evaluation project
This NSW Government site focuses on choosing the right consultant for an evaluation and preparing a request for tender.

For Commonwealth Procurement, visit Whole of Australian Government Management Advisory Services Panel.

Measuring and assessing: box 4 labelled “Measuring and assessing”, 5. Collect evidence and data, and 6. Analyse and interpret results

4. Define evidence and data sources

Task: Selecting measures or indicators for an evaluation

Use measures, indicators or metrics
This site provides context and definitions for common measurement terms.

Using qualitative methods in program evaluation
This article outlines some key considerations for using qualitative methods in program evaluation.

Task: Performance information

Quantitative data
This site describes quantitative data and how it can be used to understand the extent of change.

Qualitative data
This site describes qualitative data and how it can be used to understand the reasons for change.

Task: Planning what, when, and how to collect data

Deciding what data to collect
This site helps you clarify your goals so that you can decide what data to collect and determine whether the intervention/activity is leading to the desired change.

Baseline Basics
From Better Evaluation and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent, Baseline Basics is a short introduction to conducting a baseline study, focusing on the key concepts and practices, and pointing to additional resources for more detail. It includes a checklist for planning the study, as well as information on the reconstruction of baseline data

Data collection methods [PDF 637KB]
Outlines how to develop your data collection strategy and ensure the quality of your data.

Task: Designing data and evidence collection

Australian Bureau of Statistics Data Quality Framework
The ABS Data Quality Framework (ABS DQF) provides the standards for assessing and reporting on the quality of statistical information. It can also assist you with the development of statistical collections to produce high quality outputs.

ABS data lab
DataLab is the analysis solution for high-end users who want to undertake real time complex analysis of detailed microdata. All analytical output that you want to use outside DataLab are checked by the ABS before release.

Some datasets that you may have a need to access (depending on your evaluation questions) have been released on a limited basis. This includes BLADE and MADIP, which are available for approved projects for government employees and government contractors.

5. Collect evidence and data

Task: Importance of ethics in collecting evidence

Office of the National Data Commissioner
The site outlines the scheme for sharing Australian Government data - the DATA Scheme. The DATA Scheme is focused on increasing the availability and use of Australian Government data, helping deliver better government services, policies and programs as well as research and innovation.

Task: Ways to collect and/or retrieve data and what should be considered

Collecting and retrieving data
This guidance focuses on the importance of considering the type of information you want to gather and the ways you will analyse that information, before choosing your collection methodology.

Collecting the right data
This site provides a step-by-step guide to planning for impact. Under the “Do” step, you will find practical advice on different collection techniques.

Data collection, access and linking [PDF 2.4MB]
This UK government guidance on evaluation includes a detailed chapter on data collection, data access and data linking (see Chapter 4).

Task: Organising and storing information and ensuring its quality

Managing data
This site takes you through the principles of good data management including: developing effective processes for consistently collecting and recording data; storing data securely; backing up data; cleaning data; and modifying data so it can be transferred between different types of software for analysis.

Task: Visualise your data

Visualise your data
This guidance takes you through what data visualisation is, how it can help you understand the data and tell your story and the different techniques available to visualise your data.

6. Analyse and interpret results

Task: Theory of change and consistency of results

World Health Organisation Evaluation Practice Handbook [PDF 971KB]
This comprehensive handbook on evaluation provides practical guidance, including the key steps to analysing and synthesising your evidence and data (refer to pages 54 – 56).

Options for analysing the data
This site discusses how to analyse and summarise your data and look for patterns.

Guidance on producing quality analysis for government [PDF 1.0MB]
This UK government guidance focuses on how to produce and assure the quality of your analysis.

Task: Checking for patterns, themes and/or trends in the evidence and data

Thematic coding
This site introduces you to the concept of thematic analysis.

Compare your data
This site explores how to place your data in context.

Reporting and being accountable; box label 7. Report findings and 8. Implement improvements”.

7. Report findings

Task: Making the most out of evaluation

Final reports
This site outlines the final deliverable of a program evaluation project - the written report.

Making the most out of your evaluation
This resource describes some of the different ways you can use an evaluation, and presents nine principles to apply to your evaluation to make sure it gets used.

Task: Turning results into meaningful information

Reporting styles
This site provides some examples of evaluation reports. It can be used in conjunction with some of the sites identified in step 6.

Developing an effective evaluation report [PDF 9.6MB]
A comprehensive overview of developing a final evaluation report - presenting findings, conclusions, and recommendations.

Task: Sharing your findings

Review your findings
This site discusses how to use your findings to review and improve your work.

Share your findings
This site is a simple guide to helping you convert your evaluation into findings that make sense to whoever’s reading it. Sharing (where appropriate) your findings within your own organisation and with stakeholders is important for reviewing your entity’s performance against key goals. You can develop a learning culture where staff focus on how to adapt and improve programs or services.

8. Implement improvements

Task: Using the results of the evaluation to support performance reporting

Developing good performance information
This guide provides practical information to support officials of Commonwealth entities in developing good performance information. It also provides guidance on the requirements, as prescribed by section 16EA of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (PGPA Rule), for performance information developed by entities.

Annual Performance Statements
This guide:

  • provides guidance to assist accountable authorities to prepare and publish annual performance statements for their entities as required by section 39 of the Public Governance Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act);
  • outlines the minimum requirements, prescribed by the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (PGPA Rule) in section 16F, for entities producing annual performance statements.

Task: Supporting learning and continuous improvement across the APS

Supporting the use of evaluation
This site outlines the steps that will help you support the use and influence of the evaluation.

Support learning from an evaluation
Your evaluation may contain useful information for informing practice within your organisation or more widely across the APS. The use of this information can be supported by preparing specific communications such as guides or training outlines that targets practitioners and focuses on practice issues.

Other resources

Audit Insights: Performance Measurement and Monitoring – Developing Performance Measures and Tracking Progress
Published by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) in November 2020. This edition of audit insights summarises key messages from a series of ANAO performance audits assessing performance evaluation frameworks and success measures. It discusses the importance of both keeping entities accountable and their performance transparent.

Audits of the Annual Performance Statements of Australian Government Entities - Pilot Program 2020-21 (ANAO)
This report reflects on the outcome of the ANAO's annual performance statements audit pilot program and offers lessons learned to improve an entity's Annual Performance Statement.

Evaluation in the Australian Public Service: current state of play, some issues and future directions
An ANZSOG research paper for the Australian Public Service Review Panel published in March 2019.

Evaluators and enhanced Commonwealth Performance Framework
Published in Evaluation Journal of Australasia (EJA), September 2018.

Strengthening Evidence-based Policy in the Australian Federation
Outcomes of a roundtable convened by Productivity Commission in 2009.

Approach to performance measurement - Report on Government Services - Productivity Commission
Provides information on the equity, efficiency and effectiveness of government services in Australia to inform planning and evaluation of policies, for budgeting (including to assess the resource needs and performance of government agencies) and to demonstrate government accountability.

Systematic reviews, evidence synthesis (Campbell Collaboration)
The Campbell Collaboration is an international social science research network that produces high quality, open and policy-relevant evidence syntheses, plain language summaries and policy briefs.

Cochrane is an independent international network of health experts from more than 190 countries who gather and summarise (in plain language) the best evidence from health research.

COVID-19 Global Evaluation Coalition
The COVID-19 Global Evaluation Coalition is an independent collaboration made up of evaluation units from bilateral development co-operation providers, multilateral institutions, United Nations agencies and partner countries.

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