Learning Exchange Library
The Jargonbuster This is an alphabetical list of the most common jargon used in monitoring and evaluation. It has been produced by the Jargonbuster Group and written to help charities and voluntary and community sector organisations (in fact anyone involved in running a project that involves procurement or evaluation activities in the course of running it) to use technical terms more consistently and to have a clearer understanding of the ideas behind the technical terms.
Theory of Change Community This page on the Theory of Change Community website explains what the 'theory of change' means. To explore the resources on the Theory of Change Community website, you need to register. It only takes a minute and it's free to do so.
What is monitoring? Information collected through checking of records, writing notes and recording discussions is called 'monitoring' when it is routinely and systematically carried out against a plan. Read more about what Charities Evaluation Services says.
What is evaluation? Evaluation involves using monitoring and other information you collect to make judgements about your project. Evaluating also involves using that information to change and improve what you are doing.
What are outcomes? This is a clear definition of outcomes from London Councils. Outcomes are the significant changes that happen as a result of what you are doing, a project you run, or a service you offer. They are usually only measurable over a long period of time.
The Magenta Book Useful, timely (and well written) guidance from HM Treasury about evaluation. Although primarily for policy makers, it also offers useful insights to anyone working in local government, in charities and the voluntary sector (see chapter 4). It explains what to consider when designing effective evaluations and why it is so important to do so - and more importantly, the costs and losses incurred by not evaluating effectively. Also explains how to explain evaluation results and where they fit into policy and project design.
Extended Schools Subsidy Pathfinder Evaluation Interim report by Mark Peters, Hannah Carpenter and Oliver Norden (BMRB Social Research); Dr Liz Todd and Colleen Cummings (Newcastle University), July 2009. Findings have important policy implications around the management and implementation of the disadvantage subsidy. A significant proportion of schools in the study struggled to engage economically disadvantaged pupils in extended school activities.
National Outcomes Programme 2009 The National Outcomes Programme, which is run by Charities Evaluation Services, aims to embed sources of support to frontline organisations through its pool of trained practitioners. Find your nearest 'Outcomes Champion' in your region who has expertise in the field of outcomes monitoriing.
Becoming more effective: an introduction to monitoring and evaluation for refugee community organisations (Charities Evaluation Services).
How well are they doing? The impact of children's centres and extended schools (Ofsted)
Monitoring whole-school practice to improve attendance and behaviour Advice from the previous Department for Education (Department for Children, Schools and Families)
Monitoring Outcomes: Ingredients of success This document (published in November 2010 by Substance and Nesta) offers a strong and simply-put message for anyone offering a service that aims to improve people's life outcomes. 'Collaboration between these groups... [funders, organisational leaders, managers, frontline staff and service users]... can turn evaluation from a laborious ‘add-on task’ to a dynamic process that can transform and improve services.' Thge document sets out Views, which is a collection of online tools that can help people record the impact of their services or activities using a wide range of methods. On Page 15, there is a particularly useful section called: Embed evaluation in everything you do. Also see page 8 for six useful guiding principles to keep in mind about evaluation.