Budget allocation patterns in educational evaluations

Jana Kay Smith, Nick L. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How are resources typically allocated across budget categories in evaluation studies? To address this question, data from two studies of evaluation budgeting practices are presented. In the first study, estimated budget figures were provided for formative and summative evaluations by evaluators in 29 state department of education evaluation units. In the second study, initial budget figures, final costs, and study characteristics were abstracted from the records of 85 evaluations conducted by an evaluation contracting firm. A common pattern of budget allocations was identified in which approximately 61% of the total evaluation budget was allocated to personnel, overhead added an additional 13% to 14% to the cost of the evaluation, and all other budget categories consisted of about 15% or less of the total budget. These allocation patterns were found to vary according to certam study characteristics, however, such as size of total budget, purpose of the evaluation (formative or summative), study design, and other client-related factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)681-699
Number of pages19
JournalEvaluation Review
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Social Sciences


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