Clearly identifying the objectives of the evaluation is the most critical stage of the evaluation process – the stage from which the rest of the process flows. It should not be skimped. This is the stage at which, even for small-scale evaluation, time spent in clarifying ideas will reap rewards in the process and outcome of the evaluation.
- It is important to understand the context (literature, theory) of the evaluation and the practice being evaluated.
- It is valuable to specify in writing the evaluation purpose and questions, even if only for private future reference.
- It is crucial that the aims of the programme or practice being evaluated are clearly spelled out.
- It is imperative to sit down and work out what the evaluation is all about before trying to decide which method would be the best.