Evaluation Toolkit for Breastfeeding Programs and Projects

June 2012

3.1 Stages of evaluation

Page last updated: 04 November 2013

These can be ordered in any number of ways (some people suggest four stages, some six, some ten), but essentially what you want to do in an evaluation is:

  • decide what you need to find out
  • create a process for collecting the data you need
  • analyse the data and reflect on what it means.
There are, of course, a number of activities behind those three. For instance, the Victorian Department of Human Services’ guide, Planning for effective health promotion evaluation, outlines the following six steps to an evaluation project:

Step 1: Describe the program: (identify the program plan – program goal, target population, objectives, interventions, processes and resources)
Step 2: Evaluation preview: (engage stakeholders; clarify the purpose of the evaluation; identify key questions; identify evaluation resources)
Step 3: Focus the evaluation design: (specify the evaluation design; specify data collection methods; locate or develop data collection instruments)
Step 4: Collect data: (coordinate data collection)
Step 5: Analyse and interpret data: (analyse the findings; interpret the findings)
Step 6: Disseminate lessons learnt: (what reports will be prepared; what formats will be used; how will findings be disseminated) (Round et al 2005).

Whether it is three, six or ten stages, it is important that you develop a clear process, you inform the right people about it (and get ethics approval if you need it – more on that below), and that you are rigorous in your analysis so that the findings have credibility.