1.1 Types of Evaluation

The two types of evaluation are formative and summative. Summative evaluation includes outcome and impact evaluations. See below for details:


(can also be known as formative evaluation)

Focuses on the processes and activities involved in planning, implementing or delivering programs or services. Process evaluations help you understand the “how” of implementation, including how objectives or goals were achieved and any interesting challenges, successes and learnings along the way.

Process evaluations allow you to use feedback to course-correct as you implement your program or service, help you get more funding, and help you to build in new activities, foster partnerships with others (i.e., using process evaluation to help them learn about what you do).

WhenExamples of Questions
These type of evaluations are typically conducted during service implementation; they can also inform ongoing evaluation.
  • Did we implement the program or service as we had planned to and if not, why not? Have we been on schedule or not?
  • Are program or service recipients satisfied with what they received? What feedback do they have on it?
  • What have our challenges been and why did they occur? How have we tried to address them?
  • Did we spend the money we have on what we planned to? If not, why not?


(a type of summative evaluation)

Outcome evaluations assess whether a program or service is meeting its short and long term results it set out to achieve. Outcome evaluation helps you understand “what happened” as a result of the work you do.

WhenExamples of Questions
Outcome evaluations are conducted upon completion of activities. However, you can also assess outcomes alongside service delivery if your services have been running for a few years and are ongoing. Looking at evaluation results over time allows you to see larger trends, and to see your successes from multiple viewpoints
  • Did we meet our program or service goals? Why or why not?
  • What changes did we see in perceptions and attitudes towards mental health and addictions as a result of our work?
  • Did the anxiety level or feelings of depression change in the students we served?
  • What are the changes students experience in coping with the challenges of post-secondary life as a result of our services?

Impact Evaluation

(a type of summative evaluation)

Impact evaluation assess whether the program or service is meeting its intended long-term outcome. Impact evaluation helps you to understand how “what happened” as the result of the work you do contributes toward the intended long-term outcome or result.

WhenExamples of Questions
Impact evaluations are conducted after program has ended (e.g. after six months or a year or more). Impact evaluations help you understand the overall impact of the program beyond the immediate benefits on those you serve. It is also a good way to assess how the program contributes towards your organization’s mission.
  • What is the overall impact of the program on the larger community?
  • In what ways does the program contribute towards the overall wellbeing of students?
  • In what ways does the program contribute in advancing our organization’s mission?
Toolkit: PDF Version What Did You Think of This Toolkit?