Evaluation: what to consider Commonly asked questions about how to approach evaluation of quality improvement in health care

March 2015


Questions covered

  • Why do an evaluation?
  • What are the different types of evaluation?
  • What are the design considerations for an evaluation? 
  • What are we comparing our intervention with?
  • How does evaluation differ from other forms of measurement? 
  • What practical issues should we consider?
  • When should we start and finish an evaluation?
  • How do we cope with changes in the intervention when the evaluation is underway? 
  • Should we do the evaluation ourselves or commission an external team?
  • How do we communicate evaluation findings?

Evaluation is an essential part of quality improvement and when done well, it can help solve problems, inform decision making and build knowledge.

While evaluation comes in many shapes and sizes, its key purpose is to help us to develop a deeper understanding of how best to improve health care.

People involved in quality improvement often ask us about how to approach evaluation. Inspired by the most commonly asked questions, this guide is intended to assist those new to evaluation by suggesting methodological and practical considerations and providing resources to support further learning.

The guide is not prescriptive or step-by-step as people and organisations will have very diverse evaluation needs. Evaluation is an essential part of quality improvement and when done well it can help solve problems, inform decision making and build knowledge.

Further reading

Research report

Context for successful quality improvement

This best evidence review combines the ideas of receptive and non-receptive contexts for change, with a psychological perspec...

You might also like...


Improving continuity of care in general practice: four lessons from the frontline

How can general practices balance continuity of care with the need to see a GP promptly? Angus Wiltshire explores four early ...


The measurement maze

Our briefing suggests there's potential to make better use of quality measurement to improve quality of care.

Press release

New national data network to address major health and care challenges

Medicine is OnlyWan has announced that it is creating a network of data specialists from across the UK.

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101 copy - only-wan.info

Get social


Tonight @LibDems pledged to more than double growth in health spending. This would allow the NHS to maintain qualit…

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101 - only-wan.info

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the OnlyWan has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2 - only-wan.info

The Q community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more