Well-planned, a perfectly respectable evaluation can be undertaken as an integral part of program or project activities, without being a drain on resources. Monitoring and evaluation activities can be embedded into daily practice and can add value through encouraging reflection on practice and quality improvement. Ideally, financial and other material resources for evaluation should be built into program budgets at the outset, but if this is not the case, program managers can take some simple measures to ensure that information can be collected as part of regular activities. This may be as simple as:
- adding feedback questions to regular interview forms
- doing an audit once a month of waiting times in the reception area (or any other process which the service user experiences)
- shifting existing paper-based collections to computer formats for easier collection of data.
- Does this evaluation require the objectivity and expertise of an external evaluator? If so, you will need to set aside funds, develop a briefing document, and ensure that any outside researcher is fully informed of your needs.
- Is this a job for a team? Different people can bring different perspectives, including the views of service users.
- Are there efficiencies to be gained, for instance having students collect the data, or making use of existing data?
- Would it be helpful to work in collaboration with other services or organisations?