Evaluation Planning Resources: Handbooks, Guides & Checklists

These handbooks, guides, and checklists provide guidance for planning and carrying out an evaluation. The resources are useful for a wide range of individuals from users of evaluation to professional evaluators.

The User–Friendly Handbook for Project Evaluation (2010): This handbook is aimed at individuals who need to learn more about the value of evaluation and how to design and carry out an evaluation study. The handbook discusses various types of evaluation, data collection methods, and culturally responsive strategies.

User-Friendly Handbook for Mixed Methods Evaluations (1997): This handbook is aimed at users looking for practical advice about evaluation methodology, specifically around the use of qualitative techniques to complement quantitative measures in evaluation.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Evaluation Handbook (2004): This handbook provides a framework for thinking about evaluation as a relevant and useful program tool. It was written primarily for project directors who have responsibility for the ongoing evaluation of W.K. Kellogg Foundation–funded projects, but provides useful information for the informal science education field.

Evaluation Checklists: This site from the Evaluation Center at Western Michigan University provides high-quality checklists targeted to specific aspects of planning, conducting, and managing an evaluation. There are also checklists dedicated to evaluation capacity building, metaevaluation, and evaluation of specific types of educational programs and products.

Team-Based Inquiry Guide: A Practical Guide for Using Evaluation to Improve Informal Education Experiences (2014): This guide describes a collaborative evaluation process developed by the Nanoscale Informal Science Education (NISE) Network called Team-Based Inquiry. Team-Based Inquiry is an approach to building evaluation capacity within organizations by empowering informal education professionals to be able to get the data they need, when they need it, in order to improve their products and practices.

Framework for Evaluating Impacts of Informal Science Education Projects (2008): This publication is intended to help those developing and evaluating informal science education projects better articulate and measure projects’ intended public or professional audience impacts.

Common Guidelines for Education Research and Development (2013): This document from the U.S. Department of Education and the National Science Foundation provides guidelines for improving the quality, coherence, and pace of knowledge development in STEM education. The Guidelines include recommendations for all types of research and development studies that call for external feedback, or evaluation.

Building capacity in evaluating outcomes: A teaching and facilitating resource for community-based programs and organizations (2008): This resource from the University of Wisconsin Extension provides 93 activities and materials for evaluators to use in building the capacity of individuals, groups, and organizations in evaluating outcomes. It provides, in one place, a complete set of practical resources that can be readily used or modified for evaluation capacity building efforts.

My Environmental Education Evaluation Resource Assistant (MEERA): MEERA is an online “evaluation consultant” designed by the University of Michigan. It points to a wide range of resources that are helpful when evaluating environmental education programs.

User's Guide for Evaluating Learning Outcomes in Citizen Science

This NSF-funded guide is designed for project directors and evaluators who want to measure individual learning outcomes from participation in citizen science projects. It covers planning, implementing, and disseminating evaluation and includes numerous tables, worksheets, and templates.