Monitoring & Evaluation

Why monitor and evaluate?

A successful project is more than just completing the milestones on time. If you have monitored and evaluated a range of success measures, then you will be able to articulate the difference that the project has made, both in the short and longer term. This is extremely useful to demonstrate the impact of your science to funders, stakeholders, the community and other researchers.

An evaluation is about making a judgement of worth or value based on explicit criteria.
Monitoring refers to the systematic collection of information for use in decision making and planning, and to describe what is happening.
A monitoring and evaluation programme provides:

  • Feedback loop(s) to enable you to better manage and adapt the programme
  • A plan that enables the systematic collection of monitoring data
  • Guidance and direction for the whole project team - everyone in the same direction
  • Proof to funders that you've achieved what you said you were going to do 


When to monitor and evaluate?

An evaluation plan is an essential part of project planning. It is best built in from the start of a project and should be run and updated throughout the life of the project. Introducing a monitoring and evaluation plan part way through an existing programme will still add value. Some evaluations are undertaken after a programme is completed; however, these post project evaluations have less opportunity to add value to the project.


How to monitor and evaluate?

Monitoring and evaluation is a specialist skill. However, project managers should be able to design a simple programme logic and develop some indicators for monitoring and evaluating success. Our tools section provides examples and guidance on this.

AgResearch has specialist capability in monitoring and evaluation, and can assist in the following ways:

  • Working with project teams to design an evaluation framework and indicators
  • Developing and implementing an evaluation plan
  • Quantitative and qualitative evaluation methods, including survey design and analysis, focus groups, and interviews
  • Facilitating participatory approaches with diverse teams for monitoring and evaluation
  • Theoretical frameworks for monitoring and evaluation