What is the difference between monitoring and evaluation?
Matthew Freeman avatar
Written by Matthew Freeman
Updated over a week ago

This resource covers monitoring and evaluation (M&E) principles and practical ways of applying these to hygiene during COVID-19 response. We provide some general principles for how to understand whether your project is having an impact on COVID-19 preventative behaviours.

Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) allow for the assessment of the performance of a project. M&E should be thought of as a single process, utilizing data collected on an ongoing basis and at different time points. M&E data support learning and accountability for all stakeholders, including funders, beneficiaries, implementers, and policy makers.

Monitoring is a continuous process of collecting data throughout the lifecycle of a project. It involves the collection, analysis, communication, and use of information about the project’s progress. Monitoring systems and procedures should provide the mechanisms for the right information to be provided to the right people at the right time, to help them make informed decisions about project progress. Monitoring data should highlight the strengths and weaknesses in project implementation and enable problems to be solved, performance to improve, success to be built on and projects to adapt to changing circumstances. Often routine monitoring data feeds into process evaluations as described below.

Evaluation refers to the systematic assessment of whether a project is achieving its stated goals and objectives as determined at the design stage and/or the extent to which the program has resulted in the anticipated outcomes and impact among the target population and if any unanticipated outcomes or impact have resulted. Please see this section for detailed definitions of each of these. Evaluations often take place at baseline, midterm and endline. Evaluation can be distinguished from monitoring and regular review by the following characteristics

  • Scope: Evaluations are typically designed to answer focused questions on whether the project outcomes and impacts were achieved, how these impacts were achieved, if the proper objectives and strategies were chosen, and whether the intervention was delivered as designed.

  • Timing: Evaluations are less frequent and most commonly take place at specific times during the project cycle.

  • Staff involved: Evaluations are often undertaken by external or independent personnel to provide greater objectivity. This is because if project staff conduct the evaluation results may be biased.

  • Users of the results: Evaluations may be used by planners and policy makers concerned with strategic policy and programming issues, rather than just managers responsible for implementing projects.

Editors notes

Author: Matt Freeman, Sian White, Fiona Majorin

Reviewer: Peter Winch, Katie Greenland, Karine Le Roch

Last updated: 27.09.2020

Did this answer your question?