How to evaluate

This guidance is designed to support people to determine fit for purpose approaches to evaluate, measure and assess the performance of a Commonwealth program or activity.

It can be used to plan and conduct an evaluation, or to strengthen routine performance measurement approaches. The templates, tools and additional resources provide further guidance and examples on specific tasks.

While the "How to" section is presented as a series of sequential steps, in practice, evaluation and performance management need to be approached in a holistic way and considered early in the policy cycle.

Evaluation findings

Evaluation findings and other performance information should be used to support continuous improvement, accountability and decision‑making.

The steps below are not mutually exclusive – all aspects of planning, measuring, assessing, reporting and being accountable for results need to be considered together to determine fit for purpose evaluative approaches. This allows:

  • robust performance monitoring to be established early in the policy cycle, and aligned to existing data, where possible
  • credible data and evidence to be collected throughout implementation to support future evaluations, reviews and performance assessments.

Evaluative steps

Before you get started, be aware that:

  • Steps 1‑4 need to be considered before an evaluation begins
  • Step 5 should continue from the start to the end of a program/activity
  • Steps 6‑8 need to be considered early to ensure stakeholders get what they need from the evaluation

Graphic displays three groups of three boxes. Arrows indicate they show a process. The first three boxes are grouped and labelled “Planning and Budgeting; 1. Investigate context, 2. Set evaluation objectives, 3. Determine scope and approach”. Number 3 and 4, grouped and labelled “Define evidence and data sources”, are labelled “both critical aspects”. Box 4 is labelled “Measuring and assessing” along with 5. Collect evidence and data, and 6. Analyse and interpret results. Two boxes are the group “Reporting and being accountable; 7. Report findings and 8. Implement improvements”. The final box reads “templates, tools and additional resources”. A set of arrows indicates that after implementing improvements, there is a “feedback” stage then further work to all the three groups.

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