Reporting your results

Author: Patrick Parnaby

Selecting a reporting method that will improve the odds for implementation is critical.

When developing your evaluation presentation, think about the needs of your stakeholders.


You have completed your evaluation and have compiled your results. Now you need to inform your stakeholders of your conclusions while increasing the chances that your results will be implemented.


Use a variety of methods to present your results to your stakeholders according to their needs. When possible, use electronic methods to facilitate the process.


For the most part, the dissemination and implementation of evaluation results is driven primarily by the specific needs of the stakeholders. This does not mean that you will be giving your stakeholders only the information they want to hear. Your responsibility is to understand what they are seeking and provide them with a proper analysis. Through your needs analysis and your consistent interaction with your stakeholders, you have already determined what you will need to provide in order to be convincing. The dissemination and implementation process is fully dependent upon your ability to communicate your findings and their implications.

Evaluation Reports

Creating a good evaluation report will help you communicate your results in a way that you will be heard. A sound evaluation report will contain these basic components:

  • An executive summary containing the most important aspects of the evaluation.
  • A summary of the evaluation’s focus, including discussion of the objectives and questions used to direct the evaluation.
  • A summary of the evaluation plan.
  • A discussion of the findings of the evaluation.
  • A discussion of the evaluation’s conclusion and recommendations.
  • Any additional information required, such as the details of your data analysis, in an appendix.


While you will most certainly have to provide a written evaluation report, you may need to choose additional methods of dissemination. Selecting a method that will increase the likelihood of your results being implemented is the final, important step in the evaluation process.

Before you widely distribute your results, provide a draft version of your results to your stakeholders. This eliminates the element of surprise and allows them to prepare a response. In addition, your stakeholders may make specific requests about who receives information contained in the report.

If you present your results orally, be sure to carefully tailor your presentation to your audience. Because you won’t be able to present as much detail in an oral presentation, keep the content manageable. Use simple language, avoid jargon, and design visual aids to help you convey your message. An effective visual aid lists key points, but should not be used as a primary text.

You can also disseminate your results electronically. If you have budgeted well, you can design a web site that maps out the results and from which users can download a copy of the full report. Online message boards and meetings are also a good forum for discussing the evaluation results. Finally, you can use email lists to contact people affected by the report. Electronic dissemination can reduce costs by alleviating the need to print, collate, and distribute paper reports to a wide audience.

Results Implementation

Once you have disseminated your results, work with your stakeholders to ensure that they understand them. Be available to answer questions when needed and maintain open lines of communication to encourage them to implement your recommendations.

If your results are timely, relevant, and clear, and you are operating within a receptive political climate, the process of implementing your recommendations should be fairly smooth. However, if you have not provided your users with relevant, useful results or have ignored resistance to the evaluation, you will have a much harder time finding supporters to encourage and implement change.

If you anticipate that the results will be unwelcome, consider reframing them to make your audience more receptive. Explain what works well in the program before discussing the areas that need improvement. Also, avoid negative language by opting for more neutral words. For example, instead of saying, “This program fails in the following areas,” try “As in any program, there are some areas that require special attention. In your program, these areas are….” Finally, as in any feedback scenario, focus on offering solutions to program challenges.

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