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Public Engagement Evaluation Guidance

Who and what is evaluation for?

  • Funders ie to prove you met objectives/justified your funding
  • Participants ie to meet their expectations
  • Organisers ie to learn for the next time

What do you want to measure?

  • Learning – “I learned something”
  • Culture – “It challenged my thinking”
  • Inspiration - “I want to know more” “I feel like I could get involved”

Guiding principles

  • Engagement is on a spectrum (from informing to collaborating) and evaluation should match
  • Be proportional – is it is a new event, is it complicated? If not, scale back evaluation.
  • Be realistic – evidence is always partial and provisional, adjust your methods to suit audiences and events
  • Be clear about your assumptions and expectations
  • Use a variety of tools/sources of evidence
  • It’s not about proving but improving

Develop an evaluation plan


  • Work out what you want to know and link this to your activity objectives
  • Decide which approach and tools will provide the information you need
  • Work out how much time/money/knowledge you have to do the evaluation


  • Communicate your findings
  • Act on the findings

Evaluation plan template (DOCX, 22KB)

Different evaluation techniques and tools

There are lots of different evaluation techniques and tools – pick the one/s that suit you.

‘Realist evaluation’ aims to build cumulative understanding to inform future practice. In particular, it seeks to understand what worked, for what audiences, in what circumstances, and why.

It uses multi-method evidence: