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Step 5: Evaluate the effects

What are you looking for?

The effects for the target group are now assessed as foreseen in the planning. This can be carried out by external experts (external evaluation) or by project managers (self-evaluation). Mixed forms are also conceivable. Participatory approaches involve the target group in this phase.

Whatever the form of evaluation, the aim is to gather together the collected data, to analyse it and to disseminate it in a clearly intelligible form. The conventional means of doing this is a written report. Depending on the rationale for the outcome and impact assessment, a presentation or a group discussion may be appropriate. As part of their reporting, project managers inform their organisation about the project and the results of the impact assessment.

How it is done

ActivitiesProject managers or external experts make comparisons and find out the project’s effect on the target group using the available data. This task should be carried out according to standard evaluation practice. The findings are generally recorded in writing.
QuestionsComing up with answers to the following question forms the fifth step in an impact assessment:
Is all the necessary data available in a suitable format?
What was the effect or change on the target group?
What would have changed for the target group without the project?
What are the reasons for any deviation from the project objectives? 
Which assumptions and hypotheses have proved true, and which were false?
What foreseen and unforeseen side effects were there?
Is there a plausible case to be made that the project has contributed to the overarching goals?
Which effects can be clearly attributed to the project?
Which recommendations are needed?
ResultsA report or a presentation has been made about the effects of the project or programme.

It is generally at this stage that external experts come into play. However, there should already have been clarification during Step 3, i.e. during the planning of the impact assessment, which questions need answering and who will carry out the impact assessment. This important point is often neglected in practice, making it difficult or even impossible to assess the effects.