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PMP Evaluation Plan

The Evaluation Plan section of a PMP should identify planned evaluations over the CDCS timeframe. Evaluation plans should include not only possible evaluation questions, but also ideas for evaluation design and methodologies to be used.

The CDCS began a process for identifying questions that it would be important for evaluations under a DO to address and also listed at least one opportunity for an impact evaluation for each DO. In a PMP, it is expected that evaluation plans for each DO will be explained more fully.

In addition to outlining the set of evaluations it would undertake to answer the evaluation questions raised in a CDCS, a Mission evaluation plan, it would be appropriate for a Mission PMP to preview plans for complying with two USAID evaluations established by USAID's Evaluation Policy. These state that Missions are expected to:

  • Conduct at least one performance evaluation of each large project it implements. For these purposes, a "large project" is one that equals or exceeds in dollar value the mean (average) project size for the operating unit.
  • Conduct an impact evaluation of any activity within a project involving untested hypotheses or demonstrating new approaches that are anticipated to be expanded in scale or scope through USG foreign assistance or other funding sources will, if feasible. If it is not possible to effectively undertake an impact evaluation, USAID Missions/Offices may undertake a performance evaluation, provided that the final evaluation report includes a concise but detailed statement about why an impact evaluation was not conducted.

Ideally, for each DO, a Mission PMP would include a listing of evaluations which, as a group, would answer all of the key evaluation questions for that DO and meet all of USAID's formal evaluation requirements. Since USAID fully expects that additional evaluations may be required during a CDCS period that cannot be fully anticipated in a PMP, Missions may also find it useful to discuss how they will add on evaluations and fund them in response to future evaluation needs.

For each anticipated evaluation listed in a PMP, USAID's guidance calls for the identification of the likely evaluation designs and methods to be used. When selecting evaluation designs and methods, Mission staff need to keep in mind four key precepts for high quality evaluation designs and methods outlined in USAID's evaluation policy :

  • Application and use to the maximum extent possible of social science methods and tools that reduce the need for evaluator-specific judgments.
  • Use methods that produce evaluation findings that are based on facts, evidence and data. This precludes relying exclusively upon anecdotes, hearsay and unverified opinions. Findings should be specific, concise and supported by quantitative and qualitative information that is reliable, valid and generalizable.
  • Use data collection and analytic methods that ensure, to the maximum extent possible, that if a different, well-qualified evaluator were to undertake the same evaluation, he or she would arrive at the same or similar findings and conclusions.
  • Use standardized recording and maintenance of records from the evaluation (e.g., focus group transcripts).

A wide range of USAID TIPs on evaluation design and methods are available for USAID staff review when developing the Evaluation Plan section of a PMP.

While not explicitly required, Missions might consider including in their description of each evaluations design and methods the baseline information that would be needed. Describing needed baseline data for evaluations in a PMP creates an important opportunity for comparing what would be needed to what the baseline study and performance monitoring plans included in the PMP will provide. If baseline data gaps are identified as these PMP sections are drafted, the Mission will may be able to fill them, rather than discover later that the evaluations they would like to conduct cannot be carried out.