When conducting any type of evaluation it is useful to make an evaluation plan. It will help you focus your evaluation and assist its design and implementation. Ideally, you develop the evaluation plan early in the planning phase. This will enable you to conduct a comprehensive evaluation and help you collect the necessary information on time. In this section we will discuss several questions that are relevant to address when writing an evaluation plan for your podcast. On the internet you can find various evaluation toolkits that can offer additional assistance. For instance, RAND cooperation offers an useful evaluation toolkit for grassroots efforts that address extremism, whether directly or indirectly.
What is the purpose of the evaluation?
As mentioned, there are several reasons to evaluate your podcast. For example, you can evaluate to develop or improve your podcast or to assess whether you are achieving your goals. The purpose of your evaluation will help determine which type of evaluation is appropriate and give direction to the further design.
For whom are you conducting the evaluation?
When drawing up an evaluation plan, it is useful to consider for whom the results of the evaluation are intended. Will you conduct the evaluation for yourself or will you (also) conduct it for others? For example, you may want to share lessons learned with others engaging in similar efforts or show the impact of your efforts to the target group. Sometimes funders may also require insight in what has been achieved. Certainly in the latter case, a more formal and in-depth form of evaluation may be required. You may even need to involve a third party to conduct an independent evaluation and write a report. If you just conduct the evaluation for yourself, than perhaps a more informal and less in-depth evaluation will be enough.
What questions do you want to answer with your evaluation?
Think carefully about what it is you want know more about. Your evaluation questions will largely determine the type of information you want to collect during your evaluation and how you can best do so. Of course, your questions should flow logically from your evaluation goals.
What data sources can help you answer the questions?
The sources information needed should be considered. When you think about possible data sources for the evaluation of a podcast, you quickly think of listeners. But depending on formulated questions, other sources of information may be relevant. For example, a process evaluation could focus on the collaboration between those involved in the promotion of the podcast. When conducting a formative evaluation, it may be relevant to delve into literature about podcasting and study evaluations of similar initiatives.
What resources are available?
The design of your evaluation should match the resources (e.g. time, budget, capacity, expertise) you have at your disposal. It is important to think carefully about what can be achieved with these resources, so that you will not be faced with unpleasant surprises while conducting the evaluation.