Good evaluation needs a clear set of objectives. The usual starting point is to evaluate the activity against its objectives. This will help determine if the project achieved what it set out to achieve.
For further guidance see setting objectives.
You may also wish to evaluate other issues, for example:
- Has the programme changed any of the participants (audience and researchers)?
- Have there been any unexpected outcomes, whether positive or negative?
The evaluation might explore how the project could be improved or seek to identify any aspects that were particularly effective. This learning can be very useful for other researchers undertaking public engagement – knowing what works (and what doesn't) can save time and improve practice generally.
Evaluation might also stimulate research into public engagement. For example, it might identify which types of engagement activities work well for particular audiences and new ways to engage with audiences that are difficult to reach.