DSM program evaluations must evaluate issues worth knowing, at a cost worth expending, generating
valid conclusions that are used to improve the program and better meet the utility's and customers' needs.
Evaluators frequently describe evaluations as comprising three basic activities: methodology, planning,
data collection, and analysis. To ensure that the results produced are both useful and used., this paper
describes how the evaluator might view these activities as part of a larger evaluation process.
The larger process involves six steps. Steps 1 through 4 of this process comprise setting the scope of the
evaluation, Step 5 comprises the "doing, " and Step 6 communicates and applies the results.
This framework places considerable emphasis on "scoping" the evaluation before detailed methodology
planning is conducted and the evaluation launchede This paper argues that proper scoping is essential if
evaluations are to be useful and cost-effective. The practitioner must spend time asking questions like the
following: To what problem is evaluation a solution? Who are the stakeholders? What information do
they need? What analysis approaches will they find convincing? What is at stake? How much can we
afford? The most carefully conducted evaluation is meaningless if it asks the wrong questions or answers
them in a way that does not meet users' needs.