Knowledge and Resource Hub
05 February 2018

Evaluation: What's the use?

This study aimed to identify Australasian Evaluation Society  members’ perceptions of the levels of use of evaluation in government decision-making and the factors associated with use, as well as how evaluators overcome barriers to use.  Respondents  identified Australian government's failure to use evaluation as a substantial concern. The factors respondents identified as affecting use largely reflect the research from North America and Europe. Respondents identified both demand-side factors, particularly leadership commitment and individual receptiveness to evaluation, and supply-side factors, particularly agreeing on the purpose of the evaluation upfront and effectively communicating findings, as important. A complex interplay between the broader institutional context, organisation and individual level factors can affect demand for and use of evaluation. Additionally, different organisational contexts can shape which factors are perceived as most important in individual evaluations. The author concluded that further research with commissioners of evaluation in government agencies across Australia was needed to provide a more comprehensive understanding of levels of use of evaluation and the factors that drive use.