Knowledge Bank

Network Evaluation

November 30, -0001, Evaluation Observatory

Women’s Alliance – a feminist not-for-profit organization, seeks to maximize their social impact. Realizing their success is heavily dependent on the power of networks, the organization decides to adopt a strategy to strengthen the networks of funders and social entrepreneurs.

However, in attracting the necessary resources, the Women’s Alliance is confronted with three critical questions: (i) What are the key factors for success in building a network? (ii) What should funders support when laying grants to networks? (iii) How can network builders and funders assess the health of a network? (2014, p.3. Network Impact)

Hence, it becomes essential to invent, test, and scale these networks through a systematic process called Network Evaluation.

(Source: Freeman, 2000)

FAO defines network evaluation as a research technique that helps better understand the relationship between individuals, groups, and systems that facilitate knowledge learning. Throwing light on the structure of informal relationships across the Network, it asks “who knows whom” and “who shares with whom”, allowing the evaluator to visualize and understand diverse relationships.


List of recommended resources:

For a broad overview

  • Developed by the Centre for Network Evaluation and Network Impact, this guide explains the three pillars of network evaluation – network connectivity, network health and network results - through an illustrative casebook.

For in depth understanding

Case Study

  • In this video, Eva Schiffer explains the use of the net-map method to demonstrate communication around the Avian Influenza. Developed by Eva Schiffer, this method helps people understand, visualize and improve outcomes in situations where different stakeholders influence outcomes.


  • Developed by the Rural Information Hub is a list of aggregated quick links to aid evaluators in addressing process-oriented questions and measuring shortterm and long-term impacts.

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