7.3 The evaluation purpose

All evaluations start with a purpose, which sets the direction. Without a clear and complete statement of purpose, an evaluation risks being aimless and lacking credibility and usefulness. Evaluations may fill a number of different needs. The statements of purpose should make clear the following:

  • Why the evaluation is being conducted and at that particular point in time
  • Who will use the information
  • What information is needed
  • How the information will be used

The purpose and timing of an evaluation should be determined at the time of developing an evaluation plan (see Chapter 3 for more information). The purpose statement can be further elaborated at the time a ToR for the evaluation is drafted to inform the evaluation design.

Tip: Sample Purpose Statement—This project evaluation is being conducted at the request of the national government and UNDP to provide information about the status of project implementation to ensure accountability for the expenditures to date and the delivery of outputs and so that managers can make mid-course corrections as appropriate.