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Types of campaign evaluation

Last edited: January 03, 2012

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Campaign evaluations can be distinguished by their main purpose. Note that there is an overlap with sample questions used in levels of monitoring to assess different aspects of the campaign.

Evaluation Type


Sample Questions


Assesses the strengths and weaknesses of campaign materials and strategies, and their (likely) translation into practice before or during campaign implementation.

How does the campaign’s target audience think about the issue?

What messages work with what audiences?

Who are the best messengers?

What outcomes are being achieved?

Developmental (formative)

Helps campaigners design and develop innovative campaigning approaches and solutions, adapting to complex, uncertain and dynamic circumstances.

What are the vision and values that guide the campaigners?

What do initial results reveal about what is working and not working?

Process (summative)

Examines campaign implementation, measuring effort and the direct outputs - what and how much was accomplished.

How many materials have been put out?

What has been the campaign’s reach?

How many people have been reached?

Outcome (summative)

Measures effects and changes that result from the campaign. Assesses outcomes in the target audiences that come about as a result of campaign strategies and activities.

Has there been any affective change (beliefs, attitudes, social norms)?

Has there been any behaviour-change?

Have any policies changed?

Impact (summative)


Measures community-level change or longer-term results achieved as a result of the campaign’s aggregate effects on individuals’ behaviour and the sustainability of the behaviour. Attempts to determine whether the campaign caused the effects.

Has the behaviour-change resulted in its intended outcomes (e.g., lower cancer rates, less violence in schools)

Has there been any systems-level change?

(Adapted from Coffman, J., Harvard Family Research Project, 2002. Public Communication Campaign Evaluation.)

Example: Impact Evaluation of Soul City 4

The evaluation of Soul City 4 involved several studies involved extensive and rigorous qualitative and quantitative studies, including population-based surveys, extensive qualitative data collection through focus groups and key-informant interviews, and a cost-effectiveness study. The multi-method approach to the evaluation makes it possible to assess not only the program’s impact on knowledge and awareness, but also changes in attitudes and policy-level impact. A full case study is available here.