How do we report our evaluation findings?
The content and format of evaluation reporting are contingent upon the audience and the purpose of the evaluation. Evaluation findings can be reported in formal reports, presentations, press releases, newsletters, updates, etc., or can be part of informal discussions among stakeholders. In some cases, using multiple methods of communication helps get evaluation information to important stakeholders by tailoring communication methods to the specific audience. Regardless of the reporting format, it is useful to identify the key findings, interpret those key findings, and take action. It may be useful to develop recommendations based on the evaluation findings. These recommendations should describe the implications of the evaluation findings and how the findings can be used to inform actions to improve the program or intervention. Additionally, follow-up feedback can be used to provide useful information to the stakeholders who were involved in the evaluation or who have a responsibility for the program. Often it is useful to create short, concise summaries of the evaluation findings in the form of executive summaries or evaluation briefs because these simplified reports are user-friendly and quick to read.
Key evaluation findings should be presented in a way that the stakeholders are able to understand and take action easily. The following guidelines are helpful to present key findings:
- Decide who will be the target stakeholders or audience of the findings.
- Determine the main purposes of the communication.
- Be clear and concise about the findings.
- Highlight major outcomes with charts, figures, tables or other visual elements.
- Interpret the major findings based on knowledge of the intervention and its participants.
- Make suggestions to improve the program.