The term evaluation comes from Latin and means assessment. Evaluations are employed in Participatory Quality Development to check the results of concrete health promotion and prevention interventions. Participatory evaluation is an approach oriented towards collaboration. It means involving all stakeholders as early as possible in the evaluation process, including the development of the evaluation questions. The entire evaluation process is designed together. The results then represent a common, data- and value-based perspective on a program, project or organisation.

Self-evaluation with target group involvement is the core component of the participatory approach. Because all evaluation measures are negotiated among stakeholders, a certain public viewpoint, which bears similarities to an external evaluation, is also covered (see also Wright 2004).

After the needs of a target group have been assessed and a project has been planned accordingly, it is only natural to want to know whether it worked and achieved the desired results or objectives (see also ZiWi Method and SMART Criteria). It is important for projects and funding bodies alike to demonstrate whether an intervention has had the desired effect and how its effectiveness can be explained. This provides the implementing organisation with an opportunity to optimise existing interventions or to develop new ones.

The demands and expectations that various stakeholders (funding bodies, project leaders, project personnel and the target group) have of an evaluation may actually differ and require negotiation (collaboration).

The following process is recommended for planning and carrying out an evaluation:

  1. Which intervention is to be evaluated? Who should/must be involved (collaboration)? Invite desired participants formally where relevant.
  2. Answer the following questions: “Why is this evaluation carried out? What are we hoping to gain from it?”
  3. Clarify the audience. For whom is the evaluation carried out (e.g. in the project’s own interest, or upon demand from the funding body)?
  4. Answer the following question: “What do we already now about the impact of the intervention (taking stock)?
  5. Develop evaluation questions. The most important question in most cases is: “Are we achieving our objectives? Do we reach the indicators measuring the achievement of objectives/milestones and of the overall goal (ZiWi Method)?”
  6. Develop a methodology (timeline, selecting data collection instruments). Data collection methods are selected according to the indicators formulated during Project Planning (ZiWi Method). This includes clarifying which types of data are necessary and possible to collect.
  7. Data Collection
  8. Data Cleaning and Analysis (Triangulation)
  9. Utilising the Results (for publication or other uses, for drawing conclusions regarding improvements)