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Glossary of Report Components

The glossary for sound project evaluation reports is organized into six sections corresponding to report components: (1) Executive Summary, (2) Project Description, (3) Evaluation Overview, (4) Design, (5) Analysis Process, and (6) Results & Recommendations.

Quality criteria for report components are also available. The alignment table shows how glossary and criteria entries for report components align to evaluation standards.

Component Glossary Entry
Executive Summary

Summarizes the purpose of the evaluation, the project goals, implementation, impacts, conclusions, and recommendations.

Project Description

Describes the evaluated project so that the reader of the report understands the scope of the evaluation and the association between the project's components and its outcomes (e.g., impacts and payoff).

Project Features

Describes the project's features (e.g., philosophy, rationale, goals, objectives, strategies, activities, procedures, location, duration, resources).

Project Participants, Audiences, & Other Stakeholders

Identifies individuals or groups participating in, affected by, or invested in the project.

Project Context

Identifies external influences on the project (e.g., the timing of the project relative to other factors or events; organizational/institutional, historical, economic, political, and social conditions; demographic characteristics of project participants).

Evaluation Overview

Describes the purposes and questions driving the evaluation, as well as the credentials of the evaluator and the involvement of stakeholders in the evaluation.

Evaluation Purposes

Describes the goals and objectives of the evaluation. These should be focused on identifying the project's strengths and weaknesses as well as accomplishments and challenges, in terms of how well it was implemented (formative evaluation) and/or its success in achieving its intended outcomes (summative evaluation).

This section of the report may also describe additional "goal-free" purposes that involve gathering and inductively analyzing data in order to understand the dimensions of the project that were not anticipated in the setting of goals.

Evaluation Questions

States the questions that will be answered through data collection, analysis, and interpretation. Evaluation questions are developed from the evaluation goals and objectives and state specific information needs. They focus on aspects and outcomes of the project that are important to the stakeholders.

Evaluator Credibility

Specifies the evaluator's credentials.

Stakeholder Involvement

Describes what interests the various stakeholders have had in the evaluation, and what roles they played in it.


Describes strategies and procedures for gathering and analyzing data, as well as procedures employed for the evaluation's periodic review.

Methodological Approach


  • formative or summative approaches that were taken;
  • types of data that were needed (e.g., quantitative, qualitative, pre-post, longitudinal); and
  • sources of the data (e.g., participants, documents).
Information Sources & Sampling

Describes the sources of information used in the evaluation, which may include

  • records and archival documents that contain relevant information,
  • the entire population of participants in the project, if data were collected on all of them, and
  • the sample or samples of participants or other informants that were observed or solicited for information, in order to maximize the generalizability of the findings to the population from which the sample or samples were drawn.

Describes the design and content of the instruments used to collect and analyze data (e.g., survey questionnaires, interview protocols, observation forms, learning assessments).

Data Collection Procedures & Schedule

Describes how the data and other information have been gathered to meet the criteria of validity and reliability. Also describes the frequency, order, and duration of the various data collection activities.


Describes procedures that were undertaken to review the quality of the evaluation being conducted.

Analysis Process

Describes the type or types of analyses conducted (e.g., quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods) and procedures used for examining results and ensuring their trustworthiness, such as

  • training conducted to ensure reliable coding and scoring of data,
  • checks of the data to remove errors,
  • procedures for reducing and summarizing the data, and
  • descriptions of analyses that identify a pattern of results.

This section also describes results non-interpretively (e.g., without being subject to values, perspectives, and conceptual frameworks).

Quantitative Analysis

Describes procedures taken to analyze numeric data:

  • Organizing the data
  • Verifying it
  • Summarizing it
  • Presenting purely descriptive information about the project (e.g., percentages of different responses to a survey question; percentages of different scores on a test item) that could lead to patterns and trends
  • Examining relationships among variables (e.g., Pearson Product Moment correlations, multiple regression, factor analyses)
  • Using inferential statistical techniques to test for significant differences between comparison groups (e.g., t-tests, analyses of variance, analyses of covariance)
Qualitative Analysis

Describes the qualitative analysis procedures used to compile, analyze, and interpret the data in order to find themes, patterns, and trends.

Results & Recommendations

This is the culminating section of the report. It synthesizes and interprets the data that were collected and analyzed in order to draw conclusions about the project's strengths and weaknesses. This section also contains recommendations for the project and describes how stakeholders have been involved in reviewing the results.

Interpretations & Conclusions

Describes interpretations and conclusions that have been drawn from the data.


Recommendations involve using the conclusions to suggest follow-up actions for the project's continuation as is, improvement, or elimination.

Stakeholder Review & Utilization

Describes steps taken to get stakeholder feedback on the report; also describes how the report will be used and disseminated.

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