3. Who are the stakeholders for the project and the audiences for the evaluation information?
- Stakeholders - Who has an interest or stake in the project and/or its outcomes, and in the evaluation of the project?
- Audiences - Who will be interested in the results of the study and what types of information do they expect from the evaluation?
- How should competing interests be prioritised?
Who has an interest or stake in the project and/or its outcomes, and in the evaluation of the project?
Stakeholders are individuals/groups/organisations that have something significant to gain or lose in relation to the project and therefore the evaluation. As such, their interests must be considered in evaluating the program.
Who will be interested in the results of the study and what types of information do they expect from the evaluation?
Audiences are individuals/groups/organisations whose information needs are specifically being addressed in the evaluation. They will overlap considerably with the stakeholders, but should be viewed here as individuals and groups who receive information from the study and therefore should guide the manner in which information is produced and disseminated.
How should competing interests be prioritised?
In project evaluation activities, there is a need to identify the primary and secondary stakeholders and audiences of the evaluation. In learning and teaching projects, students and staff are usually the key stakeholders although families, employers, and members of the wider community may also be legitimate stakeholders. It is unlikely the needs of each stakeholder group can be fully addressed in a single evaluation, so it often useful to identify one or two primary stakeholders whose needs will be the focus of the evaluation. These needs should align with the purpose of the evaluation and by ensuring these needs are the focus of the evaluation, the likelihood the results will be used is greatly enhanced (Patton 1997, Utilization-focused evaluation). The ALTC is an audience of the evaluation reports of all projects it funds, although it is seldom a primary stakeholder.
ALTC as a key stakeholder
The ALTC is a stakeholder for all the projects and fellowships it funds, as it has a clear interest in the quality of what it funds, the extent to what it has funded is delivered and the extent to which intended outcomes are achieved. The ALTC has clearly stated its expectations of the evaluation of projects and fellowships as:
- an external statement on the extent to which project/fellowship outcomes have been achieved
- understanding of the extent to which the project/fellowship has contributed to the ALTC mission
- assessment of the project operation, functioning of the project team and development of team members’ capacities
- demonstration of the project/fellowship having been conducted to high academic standards.
Evaluations of ALTC funded projects and fellowships must address these expectations as a minimum.