In association with

  • West of England Academic Health Science Network


Evaluation requires an investment of time, money and resources and so before you begin assess whether you should be conducting an evaluation before making the investment.


The assessment steps are:

  1. Identify whether you need to do an evaluation
  2. Check whether you are doing an evaluation

Do I need to do an evaluation?

There are a number of questions to consider before and while you are planning your evaluation to help you assess whether to invest your time and resources into an evaluation of your service.  These include:

  1. Do I already know the answer?
  2. Is the purpose and audience for the evaluation clear?
  3. Is it feasible, is the context conducive and will I be able to use the results?
  4. Do benefits of conducting the evaluation out weigh the costs and risks?
  5. Is it the right time?
  6. Are there other options?

We recommend that you review and discuss these questions with your stakeholders and ask yourselves – are we able to conduct an evaluation and will the evaluation provide us with valuable information?

Am I doing an evaluation?

Once you have identified the need to do an evaluation and planned your approach it is important that you check that you are doing a service evaluation and not research.  This is because different project types require different ethical and governance considerations.  To do this we recommend you use the Health Research Authorities decision making tool and keep a record of the outcome.



The following tools are either internal resources developed by the BNSSG Research and Evidence Team or external resources we have found useful.

Please note we are not responsible for the content of external sites and are for guidance only.


it is important to consider the opposite question – can one afford not to do a proper evaluation?

HM Treasury (2011)
The Magenta Book Guidance for Evaluation

Local experts

There are experts that can help to identify the right approach for your service as well as provide expert advice on any ethics and governance implications. This will vary depending on your organisation but consider:

  • Research and Development and or Evaluation lead
  • Clinical Governance, audit, quality improvement and/or effectiveness lead
  • University Ethics department

Top Tip

Involve your stakeholders to choose the right tool for the job whether it is monitoring, quality improvement, clinical audit, evaluation or research.

Case study: GP Alcohol Liaison Nurse Pilot

GP Alcohol Liaison Nurse Pilot

This case study is the evaluation of a pilot service for a GP Alcohol Liaison  Nurse.    The service was evaluated through its second year, and the evaluation findings were used to inform whether the service was to be fully commissioned following completion of the pilot phase.

See full case study