Analysing and reporting evidence

Turning a mass of information into an evidence base on which defensible judgements can be made is a vital stage of the evidence cycle.

Assessing evidence ensures that it is robust, reliable and relevant and that it fulfils stakeholder requirements. Evidence that meets this criteria will help everyone involved (providers and funders) to make better decisions.  Identifying both the good and bad, and noting where improvements can be made, should be incorporated into the reporting. 


How to assess evidence

The Evidence rating scale provides a tool for identifying the strength of evidence. This sits alongside an accompanying document that presents international case studies for what works.

Finding and appraising evidence provides guidance on assessing different types of evidence.

Section 4.5 of the Evaluation standards (developed in partnership with the Aotearoa New Zealand Evaluation Association (ANZEA) discusses trustworthy results; while  Section 4.6 looks at usefulness.


How to interpret evidence

Module 4 of the Evaluation handbook looks at using and communicating evaluation findings.

There are many types of evidence, but the use of administrative data is becoming more popular. The Guide to using administrative data is a practical introduction to the subject.


A body of facts or information that can be presented to inform judgement. Evidence can be quantitative or qualitative, and may come from various sources including performance monitoring, research, evaluation, statistics and expert opinion.

Evaluation planning for funding applicants - this step-by-step guide includes information on understanding the cause of outcomes and interpreting results.

Evaluation guide for funders – this guide promotes a collaborative approach to working with providers.

Evidence checklist – this list describes the evidence for effectiveness.

Superu commissioned two evaluation case studies. The lessons learned report outlines what is needed to get an organisation ready to do an evaluation of their work. The evaluation findings for the mentoring programmes (one a process evaluation, the other an outcome evaluation) are also available.

Superu has also commissioned a range of other evaluations (e.g. summative, cost-benefit, place-based) related to the Prime Minister's Youth Mental Health Project.

We know words matter. To help you out we have put together a full evaluation glossary that presents a range of terms, gives a brief definition and explanation for each of them, and lists some alternatives or synonyms you might also come across. 

ANZEA - Aotearoa New Zealand's professional association for evaluators.

The Treasury has published guidance on review and evaluation for NGOs which contract with the Crown.

How to assess and analyse data from What Works NZ.

A guide to using research evidence from the Alliance 4 Useful Evidence - a UK-wide network dedicated to promoting the use of evidence in decision-making.

Evaluation Scotland has produced information on using other people's evidence, and communicating research effectively.

Last update: 18 Oct 2017