Evaluation Toolkit for Breastfeeding Programs and Projects

June 2012

3.2 Deciding what to evaluate

Page last updated: 04 November 2013

As you start to plan your evaluation, make time to ask yourselves some simple questions.

  • What’s the purpose of this program? (e.g. to provide comprehensive breastfeeding education and support to mothers, as part of an integrated child and family health service)
  • What are its objectives or intended outcomes? (e.g. to provide consistent evidence-based advice, support and clinical services to mothers and their families to encourage the continuation of breastfeeding)
  • What processes are being used to try and achieve those outcomes? (e.g. drop-in centres, individual appointments with lactation consultants, midwife home visits)
  • What evidence base underpins the program? (e.g. that it is worthwhile attempting to improve breastfeeding practices and rates because these have been demonstrated to have ongoing population health benefits)
  • What values underpin this program and are the values consistent with the program objectives? (e.g. universal access, and/or targeted service to meet the needs of priority groups; see underlying principles on page 1 of the Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy 2010-2015 for more examples)
  • Why is an evaluation being undertaken, what is being evaluated and how will the information be used?
  • Who will be involved in the evaluation? (e.g. who will conduct it, what will be evaluated and who will find the results of interest?)
  • Are there ethical issues to address in the evaluation?
Clear responses to these questions will enable you (or the evaluation team, if you have one) to define the scope of the evaluation; determine key evaluation questions; select appropriate methods and get underway.