The concept of evaluation is in of itself straightforward – a way in which to judge the merit or worth of a project, individual, scientific concept or anything else that can be measured. Essentially, anything that has an outcome can be evaluated in one way or another. There are several types of evaluation tools, each one specially designed for the field in which it is used.
Scientific evaluation tools are objective and based solely on experiments and their results. These fact-driven evaluation tools are used to generate cost-benefit analysis, to design and monitor experiments and to conduct impartial research on any number of topics. The key element to scientific evaluation tools is their priority on impartial, accurate results.
Management-oriented evaluation tools may be more familiar to those who have worked in an office. Management evaluation systems are designed to assess an individual’s performance in terms of hard, verifiable data, but also to incorporate more abstract data like the individual’s potential and whether the individual fits the company. The key element of management evaluation tools is their focus on comprehensive evaluations.
Qualitative and anthropological tools for evaluation are based on human interaction and observation. Unlike scientific evaluation, which is based solely on impartial facts, qualitative and anthropological methods recognize the importance of subjective human analyzation. This evaluation method is similar to management systems in that evaluations are made within the context of an environment as opposed to being based entirely on data. Art criticism and critical theory would fall under qualitative and anthropological models.
If you have ever completed a survey at the end of a customer service phone call or meal, you have been a part of an evaluation tool known as the “participant-oriented” model. This method for evaluation hinges heavily on the perception of the participant, for instance, a client, customer or shareholder. This method uses averages of participant experiences to identify problem areas in a business or service and to make recommendations on filling the gaps.