Tell them what you told them
In 2008, when I was dissertating (yes, that’s an accepted word), one of the faculty members in our How to Write Your Dissertation 1-credit class quoted Aristotle rather enthusiastically in an attempt to make it “seem” easy to write a dissertation. They said, “Begin with What you will tell them, then Tell them, and close with What you have told them,” which will pretty much constitute your dissertation chapters: (Abstract), Introduction, Literature Review, Methods, Analyses/Findings, and Conclusion/Summary.
To this day, I follow this general guideline (I know it is a bit cliched too) with tweaks and modifications (based on budget and clients’ needs) to write our evaluation reports.
Typically, a 20-25 pages evaluation report for a small to mid-sized contract consists of these sections:
Table of Contents
(Generally, these don’t count towards the 20-25 pager reports)
Executive summary (Tell it all briefly) 1-2 pages max.with small table(s)/graph(s)
Tell them what you will tell them 3-4 pages
2. Organization of the report
Tell them more 2-3 pages
3. Evaluation: Plan, Design, Questions, Performance Metrics, and Data collection methods
Tell them 5-6 pages
4. Data analyses (include easy to understand tables, graphs/data viz + narrative)
5. Findings organized per EQ, as feasible
Tell them what you told them 2-3 pages
Tell them even if it’s not all good news 2-3 pages
7. Lessons learned
8. Recommendations, if any.
If you want to tell them even more, then include Appendices with tools/instruments used, technical/methodology section, images, etc. (page limit varies and clients’ needs)
9. Don’t forget the References
Did I leave anything out?
One of our NSF-funded grants evaluation report from 2018-19 has been included as a required reading by Dr Michelle Peters at UHCL. She asks her Ph.D. methods and assessment students to read, review, and discuss the contents of the report. It was way more than 25 pages because it was a summative report for a very large contract for a university that was awarded an NSF STEM + C grant.