Evaluation for policy makers - A straightforward guide

Evaluation for policy makers. A straightforward, user-friendly and practical guide to evaluation in the policy making cycle.


I am delighted to introduce this user-friendly evaluation guide that was originally created specifically for policy-makers working in Scottish Government. However, it could also act as a useful reference for other agencies who aim to embed evaluation in their policy practices.

Evaluation has become firmly embedded in the work of the Scottish Government as it helps us to better deliver outcomes for the people of Scotland by understanding which policies work best and why, and how to learn and improve. It holds us accountable and ensures that policies benefit the people who they are designed to help. It also provides evidence for the public to better understand the decisions and activities of the Scottish Government, their impact and their value for money.

This guide covers a wide range of practical issues - from outlining the role of evaluation to examining different approaches to evaluation to helping you work out what to do with evaluation findings. It sets out key questions you might want to consider and to explore with analytical colleagues at every stage of the process. There are also a series of useful tips in boxes along the way.

I hope the guide succeeds in demystifying the topic of evaluation and convincing you of its benefits. As with many aspects of your work, the most useful evaluations result from collaborative working, in this case with policy makers, analysts and stakeholders working closely together from the early stages of policy development in a spirit of investigation and curiosity.

Dr Audrey McDougall, Chief Social Researcher

Dr Audrey McDougall
Chief Social Researcher


Email: Social Research

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