Tools of the Trade

Tools of the Trade: A CWIT Guide to Participatory Evaluation

Created by Kris Zimmermann, Janise Hurtig & Erin Small

This participatory evaluation guide is the product of many years of collaboration between CRWG and Chicago Women in Trades (CWIT). CWIT is a Chicago-based non-profit organization that has been working for over 25 years to increase the number of women in the skilled trades and other blue collar occupations and to eliminate the barriers that prohibit women from entering and remaining in non-traditional careers. While the examples in the guide focus on situations relating to CWIT programs and initiatives, the content of the guide is general enough to be of use to any program, organization or other group interested in participatory evaluation based in feminist principles. In order to support the capacity of women and gender-centered community groups and organizations to document, analyze, and evaluate their own programs and policies, CWIT and CRWG decided to make the guide available on-line and free of charge.


This guide is designed to be both a teaching manual for an organization’s first evaluation and a resource to return to for future evaluations. The guide takes the user through each step of the evaluation process. It begins at the very beginning of program development, with the task of writing clear and realistic program objectives. The guide then leads the user through the process of developing an evaluation plan, choosing research methods to gather evaluation information, analysis of the information gathered, and finally to writing a final evaluation report.

The guide is divided into three “stages” that will assist in planning and carrying out an evaluation, along with resources such as appendices and worksheets. While each stage builds upon the previous one, the sections are written in such a way that users can easily go back to previous stages for review, or use the information and resources in each stage independently of the others. Users may choose to work their way through the entire guide or select sections from the following Table of Contents, according to their needs.

We are interested in receiving your feedback as you use the guide so we can periodically modify it to best serve its users. Please send any questions or comments about the guide to or

Please Note: To download the Guide, you need Adobe Acrobat Reader.



  • Participatory evaluation as a feminist research and learning practice
  • How to use this guide
  • How the guide is organized
  • Acknowledgments

Stage 1: Developing an Evaluation Plan for Your Project (Steps)


  • Step 1: Writing “SMART” Objectives
  • Step 2: Completing a Work Plan
  • Step 3: Developing Research
  • Step 4: Choosing Research Methods
  • Step 5: Constructing the Evaluation Plan

Stage 1: Developing an Evaluation Plan for Your Project (Examples)


Stage 2: Choosing Data-Gathering Methods for Your Project

Guide 04_EvalGuide_STAGE2

  • Method 1: Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Method 2: Interviews
  • Method 3: Focus Groups
  • Method 4: Site Visits & Program Observation
  • Method 5: Reviewing Agency Records
  • Method 6: Pre-tests and Post-tests
  • Method 7: Using Community Measures
  • Method 8: Creative Evaluation

Stage 3: Writing an Evaluation Report


  • Section 1: Executive Summary
  • Section 2: Program Description
  • Section 3: Evaluation Methods
  • Section 4: Findings
  • Section 5: Data Collection Planning

Conclusion: Using Your Evaluation Constructively




  • Appendix A: Data Collection Methods
  • Appendix B: Sampling
  • Appendix C: Making Comparisons
  • Appendix D: Confidentiality and Informed Consent
  • Appendix E: Focus Groups or Individual Interviews?
  • Appendix F: Identification Codes (Naming Conventions)
  • Appendix G: Sample Instruments
  • Appendix H: Sample Evaluation Report Contents




  • Worksheet 1: Writing Your Own Project Objectives
  • Worksheet 2: Program Work Plan
  • Worksheet 3: Writing Research Questions
  • Worksheet 4: Evaluation Planning
  • Worksheet 5: Data Collection Planning

Exercise Answers


References & Resources