The 5 Step Approach to Evaluation: Designing and Evaluating Interventions to Reduce Reoffending

Updated guidance on how to use the 5 Step approach to design and evaluate criminal justice interventions.

Evaluation Report Structure

Structure and content of evaluation reports

SECTION 1: Executive Summary

  • Provide a brief overview of the intervention itself and it's purpose
  • Summarise the main findings and recommendations from the evaluation

SECTION 2: Intervention description

  • Explain why the intervention was required/funded. For example was there a gap in provision?
  • Describe the intervention being evaluated including intervention costs, target group and intervention objectives.
  • Describe in more detail how the intervention works using the logic model of the intervention
  • Write a clear accompanying narrative that describes the model to the reader. The narrative should explain how funds were spent on the content of the intervention (in detail) and how the international literature of 'what works' elsewhere and good practice has been embedded into the intervention in terms of target group, activities they undertook, the skills of the practitioners and how the intervention was delivered to maximise engagement and learning. Also set out the short, medium and long term outcomes that should materialise.

SECTION 3: Evaluation questions and methods

First, set out your research questions using the logic model as a guide. Set out questions that relate to

  • Inputs - for example how much did the intervention cost and how funds were spent? To what extent were different components of the programme based on the results from robust and consistent studies?
  • Outputs - for example were activities carried out as planned, was the target group obtained, how many of the eligible group completed and what did activities consist of?
  • Short and Medium term (intermediate) outcomes - for example how many/ percentage of users increased motivation and had their criminogenic needs met?

Describe what data was collected (quantitative and/or qualitative) in order to answer each evaluation question and describe HOW the data was collected, for example by questionnaire and describe how the data was analysed

SECTION 4: Results

Results should be set out to answer each of your research questions and must AT LEAST include the following results as a MINIMUM

  • The cost/resources used and how the money was spent and was it sufficient to run the activities?
  • Which aspects of the service were evidence-based and which were not?
  • How users were selected and was this effective at reaching the target group?
  • Characteristics of the eligible group and eventual users (not just completers)
  • Throughput - how many of the eligible group started, dropped out and completed and what were there characteristics?
  • Whether activities were carried out as planned , their specific content and how many participated in them
  • Before and after analysis of outcomes. How many made progress, who did not and what were their characteristics?
  • If an impact evaluation was conducted, the results of the statistical test would be included in this section

SECTION 5: Interpretation and recommendations

  • Draw on your results to comment on the successes, challenges and lessons learned
  • Reflect on which aspects of the logic model were supported by your results and which aspects were not and why.
  • List suggestions for modifying or supplementing the intervention the future to improve its ability to meet its own objectives
  • Conclusions MUST to be backed up by your results

TIP! Short chapter summaries are extremely helpful for readers who don't have time to read the full report or who want to get a sense of the evaluation before reading it in detail.

This summary was drawn from excellent guidance on what to include in an evaluation report which can be found here


Back to top