Striving to find the difference between monitoring and evaluation?


Good Monitoring & Evaluation Systems are essential to any project, for they allow project managers, governments and donors to have a better understanding of which investments and interventions work well, which do not and also the reasons why.


Yet, the social sector still struggles to distinguish the conceptual and practical difference between impact evaluation and impact monitoring. Accessing Indicators VS Making Judgement Monitoring and evaluation are closely linked and are mutually supportive.

To monitor means to observe. Without careful monitoring, the necessary data is not collected and therefore an evaluation cannot be done properly. However, monitoring alone is not sufficient for an evaluation. Evaluation needs and relies on a good monitoring system with sound indicators and reliable tracking, but it requires "assessment".

Traditionally, monitoring was a day-to-day management tool to ensure that input deliveries, work schedules, targeted outputs and other required actions were proceeding as planned. While evaluation was considered a strategic and periodic assessment of outcome-level results.

In recent years, a different approach to these definitions can be found: "The process of designing outcome indicators and assessing data is called monitoring - whereas evaluation is the act of judging, analyzing and producing conclusions out of any given data." *

*United Nations Development Program. Handbook on Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation For Development Results. 2009.European Commission. Guidelines for Monitoring and Evaluation of the ESF. 2015."