Evaluation Handbook

II. D. Scope of Evaluation


The evaluation scope narrows the focus of the evaluation by setting the boundaries for what the evaluation will and will not cover in meeting the evaluation purpose. The scope specifies those aspects of the project or programme and its context that are within the boundaries of the evaluation: what the evaluation aims to find out and what the evaluation will focus on. These aspects should, to the extent possible, be discussed with all major stakeholders.

The scope of the evaluation can be identified in the project or programme document. However, the scope is optional and is not required in the project document.

The scope will be refined at a later stage to constitute the core of the evaluation ToR ( please see Chapter III, Section C on Evaluation ToR).

1. Scope Identification in the Project Document

In determining the scope, the following points should first be considered:

-    The unit of analysis to be covered by the evaluation, such as a cluster of related programmes, a single programme, a cluster of projects, a single project, or a subcomponent or process within a project;
- The time period or phase(s) of the implementation to be covered by the evaluation (e.g. 2000 -2004);
- The geographical coverage of the evaluation (e.g. global, regional, sub-regional, national or sub-national);
- The target group or beneficiaries to be included;
- The evaluation criteria focus.  

Depending on the purpose of the evaluation, the size of the programme or project, the stage at which the evaluation is taking place and the resources available (in terms of time, budget and staff), the evaluation might focus on selected evaluation criteria (for instance on the relevance, effectiveness and sustainability of the programme or project) and put less emphasis on other criteria.

2. Evaluation Questions in the ToR

The scope helps focus the selection of evaluation questions to those that fall within the defined boundaries. These questions are to be developed in the evaluation ToR.

The questions to be answered by the evaluation relate to both the purpose of the evaluation and the evaluation criteria that UNODC programmes and projects are expected to fulfil: relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability and impact. Additional criteria might be added by the Project or IEU Evaluation Manager according to the needs and specificities of the evaluation, e.g. design, partnerships and cooperation, and innovation, gender and human rights.

Questions could also relate to the project design, implementation, deliverables and management issues.


In formulating questions, focus on high priority topics per criteria and remember that these questions are indicative and will be further developed by the evaluator.


Questions should reflect key stakeholders' interests (donors, CLP, and other stakeholders).


To develop good questions:

- establish a clear link between the question and the purpose
make sure that the question addresses the issues of greatest concern
make sure that the question is answerable given the evaluation's timeframe and available   resources
set a realistic number of questions
make sure that the question relates only to one issue

Please see the generic sample of questions in Chapter I Tools: Table with evaluation criteria definitions and corresponding sample of evaluation questions. Please note that these questions need to be tailored to the particular project or programme and to the specific context; they should not simply be copied from these guidelines.

3. The Case of Joint Evaluation

In general, it is more effective for all of the partners in a Joint Evaluation to discuss and agree upon the scope of the evaluation at the design stage of the project or programme.

Issues that should be further clarified in the evaluation ToR include the evaluation criteria and questions to be covered.


Please refer to UNIDO-UNODC Joint Evaluation: Independent External Evaluation Post-Opium Surpass Poverty Project Oudomxay Province, Lao PDR.



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Table of Contents
Chapter I: Defining Core Concepts

Chapter II: Planning an Evaluation at the Design Stage

Chapter II Tools:
Chapter III: Managing an Independent Project Evaluation
Chapter IV: Undertaking an In-depth Evaluation
Chapter V: Undertaking a Participatory Self-Evaluation
Chapter VI: Using the Evaluation
Annex I: Evaluation Glossary
Annex II: UNEG Norms
Annex III: UNEG Standards
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Chapter II: Planning an Evaluation at the Design Stage