5 Jul 2022


Process Evaluation: Definition, Methods, Examples, and Types

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Process evaluation refers to the determination of the implementation process as well as the examination of the strategies used in the project to ascertain if the strategies used to follow the logic model. In contrast to the impact or outcome evaluation, process evaluation gives a special focus on the inputs, outputs and the activities and how the three logic segments work together (Cho & Lee, 2011). Through process evaluation, one is able to distinguish the failures arising from implementation from the failures arising from theory. 

Process evaluation holds many benefits for people handling projects. While many people take process evaluation as a way of proving to the sponsor or funder that the project is either a success or failure, process evaluation can be used as a learning tool that helps in improvement of the effectiveness of an organization. Well established organizations and complex programs can use the process evaluation to demonstrate their success. A project which is managed well yields good results. Subsequently, good management requires that the project handlers make the right decisions throughout the processes (Posavac, 2015). Good decision making relies on the availability of the right information which also depends on proper data analysis. 

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Used as a tool for implementation checkpoint, process evaluation helps in ensuring that program is done according to its original design. Should there be any failure in the standards of the project, process evaluation helps in identifying these failures and this can help in saving time and money. Additionally, process evaluation enables the use of routine assessments and indicators in the output measurement which help in creating a feedback loop that may occur in the project (Newcomer, Hatry & Wholey, 2015). Since these are activities which get done throughout the time frame of the project, the process of data collection and analysis can help in revealing the challenges that the program or project may encounter at an early stage. This allows the people handling the project to alter the activities and improve chances of success. Also, the process evaluation enables the program developers and project evaluators to point out the strength and weaknesses of the project design to give room for improvement. Evaluating every detail for large-scale or complex projects may not be necessary. Process indicators should depend on the priorities set by the stakeholders, evaluators or clients while comparing it with the logic model. For instance, if the outcome of the program depends on the use of a supply chain then the evaluators can stress the use of a supply chain or appreciate its usage. Under this framework, indicators can include timeline and utilization. 

Process evaluation can be useful in several situations. For example, when there are questions of accountability and transparency in an organization, project managers can be required to conduct a process evaluation to be accountable to their sponsors or funders. Most of the government agencies or even foundations scrutinize organizations for effectiveness and accountability (Celik, Abma, Klinge & Widdershoven, 2012). Program staffs, members of the public and even participants demand accountability from the organizations. Most of the organizations find process evaluation useful to gain public trust and to account for the money they are given to fund their projects. They also find it useful to prove to their donors that the social investment is working and that there are benefits at the end of it all. Also, the organizations use the process evaluation for the better understanding of the patterns of staffing and program delivery. 

Depending on the project type, there are several steps that can be followed in the process evaluation. Most organizations follow the basic steps for small or medium scale projects. The first step for most projects is forming a group of competent people. This group should include key stakeholders involved in the project. The group will have a responsibility of determining whether or not it is necessary to outsource an evaluator. The second step is to build the logic model or revisit it. Developing or revisiting the logic model helps in identifying the key components of the project. A logic model gives a visual representation of the program in terms of the inputs, the activities, and the outputs or impact as a result of the program (Cho & Lee, 2011). With the logic model, one is able to determine whether or not the implementation reflects the intended model or design of the program. Also, it helps to identify if the inputs and the resources are being used correctly. 

The third step involves the determination of the evaluation audience. They may include funders, volunteers, clients, participants and staff members (Vedung, 2017). The fourth step is to come up with research questions. These questions should be specific since they determine the evaluation model and the type of data to be collected. The fifth step is to choose the method of evaluation. Depending on the available resources, several methods can be applied including the use of focus groups, interviews or even observation. The sixth step is to collect and analyze the data collected from the process evaluation. The team should ensure that the rate of response is high enough for proper analysis. 

The information types which are given during the evaluation process may include qualitative and quantitative. Quantitative can be used for information which is not commentary such as those involving yes and no, rankings and ratings. Qualitative information involves verbal answers or commentaries in an interview. After collection of data and analysis, the input of the organization can then be compared with the service utilization plan based on the finding reports. The project can be quantified with the input depending on the evaluation audience or organization type. In most cases, findings which arise from process evaluation is presented to the funders and the evaluation audience. A project can share findings on the websites, conferences or even on the academic journals. 


Celik, H., Abma, T. A., Klinge, I., & Widdershoven, G. A. (2012). Process evaluation of a diversity training program: The value of a mixed method strategy.  Evaluation and Program Planning 35 (1), 54-65. 

Cho, C., & Lee, S. (2011). A study on process evaluation and selection model for business process management.  Expert Systems with Applications 38 (5), 6339-6350. 

Newcomer, K. E., Hatry, H. P., & Wholey, J. S. (2015).  Handbook of practical program evaluation . John Wiley & Sons. 

Posavac, E. J. (2015).  Program evaluation: Methods and case studies . Routledge. 

Vedung, E. (2017).  Public policy and program evaluation . Routledge. 

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