Grant Applicants - Program Guidelines

Resources for Evaluating a Project’s Impact

We expect your application budget to include specific and sufficient resources for project evaluation, and expect you to use interim findings to strengthen project results. Your proposed plan for project evaluation is a significant element in competitive review. We promote outcomes-based planning and evaluation as one important way for museums and libraries to measure results. For projects that intend to effect changes in behavior or knowledge, whether for professional peers or end users, you should identify  your specific audiences and say how the project will objectively and concretely measure outcomes.

In cooperation with Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), we have supported Shaping Outcomes, an online course on outcomes-based planning and evaluation (OBPE), which can help applicants improve program design and evaluation. Available at www.shapingoutcomes.org, this resource:

  • provides an online curriculum in OBPE,
  • is designed for library and museum professionals as well as students in these fields,
  • teaches the concepts and vocabulary of OBPE, and
  • helps participants develop the skills necessary for producing a logic model using OBPE.

At the end of each project, you are required to submit a final narrative performance report that documents project goals and project design and provides an analysis of the project. The report requires quantitative information on project activities and audiences reached. It also requires quantitative and qualitative data that summarize lessons learned and document project achievements, outcomes and, if applicable, large-scale or long-term results that affect one or more institutions, communities, or fields.

You are expected to include the costs of evaluation, reporting, and dissemination in your project budget. Associated costs may be for consultants or staff, development of instruments, information collection, and analysis. Any of these may be budgeted as direct costs or cost share.

You should include information in the application narrative that demonstrates that the project plan and evaluation design will enable you to provide the data and analysis necessary to meet the requirements of the final report. See the final report form at www.imls.gov/assets/1/AssetManager/rptInstructions.doc and a glossary of key reporting terms at www.imls.gov/assets/1/AssetManager/Glossary.pdf.