Guide to reporting, action planning, communication and dissemination


The guide below outlines the key information you need to provide within your evaluation report.  Note: use this as a guide as your own organisation may already have a reporting template.

Heading What to include
Executive summary Provide a summary of your evaluation on a page (max 2 pages). Bear in mind some people will only read the Exec Summary so include all key points, findings and recommendations.
Introduction Outline the purpose of the evaluation, the evaluation team, and the structure of the report.
Background Provide the national and local context for the service and evaluation (why it is important, case for change, evidence base) including information from your business case and evidence review.
Aims and objectives Clearly set out the aims and objectives of the evaluation and how they were developed / identified.
Methods Using the information in your evaluation plan set out the overall approach to the evaluation, specific data collection methods/sources (include who, where, when, how and how many) and approach to data analysis. Note here any limitations of the methods, such as a small or bias sample size.
Results Present the key results and analysis from the data collection here. You may decide to include some results in an Appendix if you have lots of data.
Findings Present an interpretation of your findings here, bring together different data that work together (triangulation). Include here any limitations of the data and findings and be realistic about your claims to maintain credibility, for example, you are unlikely to be able to show cause and effect.
Discussion Relate how the key findings fit with the local and national context, what the key learning is from the evaluation.
Conclusions and recommendations Provide evidence based conclusions to make recommendations from the evaluation findings.
Appendices Include here your collected data, if appropriate, plus any additional data or information to help the reader understand your evaluation.

Action planning

Once you have reviewed the results of your evaluation (and taken account of limitations of these findings) you can use these to make your recommendations for going forward based on the evidence.  Ideally these would be reviewed by and agreed with your project team and tested out with your key stakeholders.  The next step is to develop an action plan for implementing these recommendations.  Your organisation may already have a standard template for this, or you may like to use the format in the table below.

To maximise the impact of your evaluation make sure you use your findings to inform your decision making, and identify areas for improvement.

Recommendation Action Why Who When Risk level / issues
Recommendation from the evaluation. Specific action(s) to implement the evaluation. Explanation of why the action will lead to the desired change. Named lead responsible for delivery. Timescale of action(s). Use your organisations risk matrix. Note any risks or issues associated with this activity.

NHS Scotland Quality Improvement Hub Action Plan.

Dissemination and communication planning

Working with your organisations communications experts and project team, draw up a dissemination plan for your evaluation to maximise its impact.  Consider who your audience is, what the different approaches are to communicating the messages and the different formats these could be communicated in to whom and by when.  This will form part of your communications strategy.

Use multiple formats to communicate your findings for the greatest impact and where possible use existing channels of communication (engage your communications experts!)

Audiencen Approach Format Who When Risk level / issues
Who do you want to see your evaluation findings, and who else might be interested? e.g. participants in the study or healthcare commissioners. How you are going to reach your audience? e.g. a presentation, email, newsletter. What your message will look like? e.g. A report, an infographic, a slide deck, a leaflet or poster etc. Named lead responsible for delivery. Timescale – are their key meetings or business planning decisions that your evaluation report may influence? Use your organisations risk matrix. Note any risks or issues associated with this activity as evaluation findings may not be as expected.