Definition: The assessment, as systematic and objective as possible, of an ongoing or completed project, programme or policy, its design, implementation and results. The aim is to determine the relevance, appropriateness, effectiveness (timeliness, reactivity), efficiency, continuity and/or impact.
Evaluation may be of different kind according to:
- its timing: prior to action (ex ante), during it (mid-term), or after completion (ex post ).
- its doer: the ones involved in the performed action itself (self or internal), semi-external (people from the organisation, but not involved in the program) or an external consultants (external).
- its focus: on accountability (summative) or on learning, improving performance (formative).
- its scope: on project or program level or transversal / thematic (across projects) on a specific subject
Utilisation/purpose: Evidence base for important decisions (re-orientation, change). Understand effects / outcomes of (pilot) programs and reasons for success or failure. Organisational learning and accountability.
Definition: An assessment of the performance of a project/program, ~evaluation, but by choice less comprehensive; may compromise on the rigour in methodology.
Utilisation/purpose: Rapid overview for the management.
Real time evaluation
Definition: A real time evaluation (RTE) is conducted at the early stages of response to a humanitarian emergency. The evaluator/s act as “a stranger who sees more” because of their distance from the day to day activities. The focus is on gaining as much information possible in a short time frame. The primary audience for an RTE is the MSF staff – at field and headquarters level.
Utilisation/purpose: The main purpose is to provide feedback to the operational staff in real time.
Definition: A review that is conducted by a team in an equal position, with comparable know how / experience.
Utilisation/purpose: Learning from peers for program improvement.
Definition: A comparison / synthesis of different evaluations on a common subject in order to draw overall conclusions and lessons learnt and/or compare approach and methodology (and quality) of the evaluations.
Utilisation/purpose: Concise overview / synthesis of findings on a specific subject.
Definition: Lessons learned exercise or After Action Review. Structured working session with key people involved in an (emergency) intervention in order to critically reflect the successes and shortcomings of an intervention. It may be complemented by a preparatory analysis of key issues.
Utilisation/purpose: Rapid documentation of lessons learnt in a particular setting and definition of recommendations to improve next response. Joint/reinforced learning for the team involved.
Definition: Structured reflexion of experiences and lessons learnt at the end of a project.
Utilisation/purpose: Documentation and transfer of knowledge obtained in an intervention.
Definition: Analysis of a situation in order to identify (health and humanitarian) problems, their sources and consequences in order to determine the best way of response. The focus is on current and future needs of the population.
Utilisation/purpose: Evidence base for a decision on an intervention.
Socio-cultural assessment / study
Definition: Looking at the socio-cultural characteristics of a society or group of people. This includes everything that is related to a social group which shares values, norms, knowledge etc. Culture is seen as a complex dynamic process which can change constantly.
Utilisation/purpose: Understanding socio cultural determinants before a project start or mid-term to inform operational decisions on culturally adapted activities.
Objective assessment of either compliance with applicable statutes and regulations: („regularity audit“) or the relevance, economy, efficiency, effectiveness („performance audit“).
Utilisation/purpose: Internal or external accountability.
Quality of care assessment
Definition: Cross-sectional study design to assess structural, process and outcome quality of (health) care; primarily on hospital level.
Utilisation/purpose: Comprehensive picture of the quality of care in a health structure (or project), incl. scores for different performance levels.