Templates for Improving Your Evaluation Questions

The heart of evaluation is based in its questions. Good questions elicit high quality responses from those who participate in programs and can help you summarize your results effectively. However it's not easy to develop good questions.

Templates are provided here for four kinds of evaluation questions.

  • Two templates measure knowledge and/or attitudes.
  • Two additional templates assess behavioral change.

Each question template is accompanied by a scale or rating system. You must use the scale for the question to be effective. Yes-no or true-false questions generate weaker data.

These templates may be especially helpful if you have little knowledge or experience with evaluation. They are written in a standard format, but program-oriented details are missing. There are blanks inside brackets where you should place the details that fit your program and your evaluation goals.

All of the question templates are suited to a written survey and are intended to be easy to tabulate and analyze. However, you may use the questions as part of individual or group interviews--face-to-face or by telephone.

The timing of the questions can be very important. Some questions should be asked of participants immediately after the program. Other questions need to be asked after a period of time.

It is essential to "try out" questions on yourself and others before you finalize your survey. You may learn that you need to provide more possible answers, because none of those you provided "fit" yours or your testers' situations. Testing out your questions can help clarify language and ensure you are getting the type of information that will be valuable to you. Make the survey as short as possible (while not scrimping on data collection), and try to make the survey fun for the participants.

There are training opportunities for staff and volunteers to learn more about evaluation, or you may want to partner with programs or organizations that have more experience in evaluation.