Stakeholder engagement: monitoring and evaluation

Purpose: To assess one or more of the process, the outcomes and the impact of the stakeholder engagement.

Description: How stakeholder engagement is assessed depends on the purposes of the evaluation. Discussed here are major types of evaluation, benefits of evaluation, common questions for different aspects of monitoring and evaluation and considering evaluation during three stages of a project.

There are two major types of evaluation:

  • Formative evaluation, which occurs during the research and which is often used to assess the process
  • Summative evaluation, which occurs after the research is completed and which is generally used to assess outcomes and impact.

Why evaluate?

The benefits of evaluation are outlined as follows:

  • “If evaluation is done from the very start of the project it can help with planning engagement. It helps researchers focus on what needs to be achieved, how to go about achieving objectives, and how to measure success. Therefore, evaluation can help in defining aims and outcomes more clearly.
  • Evaluation throughout the process provides an opportunity to reflect on the adopted approach and to make changes and improvements where necessary.
  • Evaluation provides evidence, which can be used to prove the value and benefits of the activity, and to provide a record of achievements. It can also demonstrate value for money.
  • Evaluation can be used to demonstrate to stakeholders where their participation has contributed to the project.
  • Evaluation allows you to consider what has worked well and can therefore be used to help inform future engagement activities” (Durham et al., 2014, p. 93).

Common questions for each aspect of monitoring and evaluation

The process of engagement

  • Were the methods selected appropriate?
  • Were the costs reasonable?
  • What worked well and less well, and why?
  • What lessons could be learned for future engagement processes?

The success of the engagement

  • Have the aims and objectives of the engagement process been met?

The impact of the engagement

  • What impact has the process had on the stakeholders and also on the research?
  • Were there any unexpected outcomes?

Stages of evaluation

It is helpful to consider evaluation during three stages of a project:

  1. From the outset, during the planning process.
    When planning a project it is important to ensure a match between what the project is aiming to achieve and what will be evaluated. In addition, considering evaluation at the outset can help refine what the project is aiming to achieve. Considering evaluation at this stage can also highlight whether baseline data needs to be collected against which to measure benefits and outcomes.
  2. On-going monitoring throughout the process of the engagement.
    The aim is to ensure that the engagement process is appropriate and working as it should. In addition, if changes need to be made to any aspects of the project, including the engagement, these can be made in the context of what is and is not working, and why. On-going monitoring can also be helpful for maintaining contact with stakeholders during periods when there is no engagement with them, enabling them to stay informed and be involved. Involving stakeholders in the monitoring may enhance ownership and responsibility for the process of engagement.
  3. Final evaluation of benefits and outcomes.
    The aim is to assess whether the engagement has fulfilled its objectives and also whether the process was suitable. Stakeholders should be provided with an overall assessment of how their input was used and what difference it made. Sometimes the benefits and outcomes will not be realized, or fully realised, until after the project is concluded.

A useful summary table is provided by Durham et al. (2014, p. 94).durham_stakeholder-evaluation_table_2014: 94Reference:

Related tools on this website: 

Related tools on the i2Insights blog: N/A

Related topics on Wikipedia:

Posted: September 2020
Last modified: September 2020