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Evaluating your event afterwards can be really useful. While some events require only minimal evaluation (audience numbers, sense of enjoyment), other events merit more careful evaluation. Before you organise your event, try to think about the level of evaluation you might want to undertake. 

Why evaluate?

  • Main reasons:
    • to ensure your event achieved your main objectives 
    • to gather information and data for future funding applications (from departmental event funding up to research grants) 
    • to report back to funders 
    • to showcase the success of your work 
    • to allow you to reflect on how to improve future events 
    • to provide evidence of public interest in your research, which may form a basis for impact development (for Research Excellence Framework purposes) or further public engagement 
    • to provide an example of good practice, to help others. 

What to evaluate?

  • Attendee numbers: this is the easiest data to collect and record for future reference. 
  • Who attended? Did you reach your target audience(s) (academics, students, interest groups, the general public)? This data can be gathered through Eventbrite or a similar booking system. 
  • Did the event meet your objectives? 


  • Methods include:
    • registration data: a basic breakdown of attendees is useful to have: academic/researcher; student; Birkbeck/non-Birkbeck. This can be set up on the Eventbrite booking form. You could also consider asking a few more questions, if relevant, such as profession, organisational affiliation, etc. 
    • feedback form: keep it brief - ideally one page only. You will likely get more responses if you ask attendees to complete and hand back a feedback form during the event. 
    • online feedback form: Online surveys is the college preferred system for sending online surveys. You can import your registration list into this system from Eventbrite. An incentive to fill in a survey by a given deadline can increase numbers of returns (eg a prize draw for a book token).
    • informal feedback: talk to people at the event; listen to, and note, pertinent points in the discussion; make a judgement about the extent and quality of audience participation (compared to other similar events). 
    • sign-up forms/visitors' book: invite people to sign up to your mailing list and make this easy for them by distributing a form at the event. Remember to make it clear that in leaving their email address they are agreeing to be emailed about events at, or supported by, Birkbeck.
  • The National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement has a number of useful resources and guidelines. 
  • When asking for feedback, you should explain why you want it - eg to help with future grant applications or to improve the quality of future events - otherwise, the response may be minimal. 
  • If you plan to undertake a detailed evaluation, which includes respondents' personal information, please ensure you are aware of your legal responsibilities in relation to data protection legislation

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

  • The Research Excellence Framework (REF) assesses the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. 
  • The next REF is in 2020 and essential components are providing evidence of impact and demonstrating that your institution is committed to promoting and encouraging public engagement with research
  • Data and feedback from events organised to publicise research or engage audiences can provide useful evidence of impact and public engagement. 



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