This is a series of posts providing quick overviews of important topics in research and evaluation. Each post in this series will include at least 3 cartoons from my archives and at least 3 links to recommended resources. I only give quotes here and recommend that you follow the links below each quote for more detailed information.
When the cook tastes the soup, that’s formative; when the guests taste the soup, that’s summative.Quote by Bob Stake and shared in Michael Scriven’s 1991 Book, Evaluation Thesaurus 4th Edition.
Formative evaluation is generally any evaluation that takes place before or during a project’s implementation with the aim of improving the project’s design and performance.
Formative evaluation complements summative evaluation and is essential for trying to understand why a program works or doesn’t, and what other factors (internal and external) are at work during a project’s life.
Formative evaluation does require time and money and this may be a barrier to undertaking it, but it should be viewed as a valuable investment that improves the likelihood of achieving a successful outcome through better program design.Community Sustainability Engagement Evaluation Toolbox
Formative evaluation ensures that a program or program activity is feasible, appropriate, and acceptable before it is fully implemented. It is usually conducted when a new program or activity is being developed or when an existing one is being adapted or modified.CDC STD Program – Types of Evaluation 2-Pager