Framing an evaluation involves being clear about the boundaries of the evaluation. Why is the evaluation being done? What are the broad evaluation questions it is trying to answer? What are the values that will be used to make judgments about whether it is good or bad, better or worse than alternatives, or getting better or worse?
Who will actually use the evaluation – not in vague, general terms (e.g. “decision makers”) but in terms of specific identifiable people (e.g. the manager and staff of the program; the steering committee; funders deciding whether to fund this program or similar programs in the future).
Be clear about the intended uses of this evaluation – is it to support improvement, for accountability, for knowledge building? Is there a specific timeframe required (for example, to inform a specific decision or funding allocations?). if there are multiple purposes, how will you decide where to focus your resources?
What are the broad evaluation questions you are seeking to answer? (These are different to the specific questions you might ask in an interview or a questionnaire)
What are the values that will be used in the evaluation to make judgments about whether or not an intervention has been successful, or has improved, or is the best option? Different stakeholders might well have different values. How will these different values be identified and negotiated?