Oftentimes evaluators can forget that the terms and expressions we use everyday are not always consistent with the common language used by those implementing the work we are evaluating. Regular reminders of “what”, “why”, and “how” the evaluation is measuring progress towards goals can be very helpful in ensuring effectiveness and reducing feelings of frustration.
Common evaluation terms like “outcomes”, “indicators”, “outputs”, and “impact” can frequently be understood and applied interchangeably by non-evaluators. Frustrations can arise when evaluators and project implementers interpret terms inconsistently; a situation where both parties feel they are working in parallel to the other.
It is vital that evaluators spend the time to go over what exactly is being measured through the evaluation to increase buy-in, but it is equally as important that this is not a one-off conversation; regular re-visits to the purpose, and reiterations of terminologies and their meanings can make a positive difference in the experiences of all who are involved in the evaluation process.