To monitor or monitoring generally means to be aware of the state of a system, and how this state changes over time, for instance as the result of a change initiative, a trend or a shock.

Handbook on Planning, Monitoring and Evaluating for Development Results (UNDP) provides a detailed description of various aspects of monitoring as it is applied in UNDP.


Name1 Monitoring
Target Outcome Quality data on the condition of a system.
Social actors and roles Monitoring & evaluation expert
Trigger or preceding interaction Programme launch (for Monitoring against a results framework); or a Policy decision (for institutionalised monitoring)
Interfaces and services
Inputs and outputs inputs: a results framework that indicates which data needs to be collected; the data itself, as evidence (on operations, sensations,…) and comments from the various stakeholders; output: data necessary for evaluation
Stores and tools data collection instruments or services
Other characteristics
Part of Regulative Cycle or institutionalised monitoring of a system, country, area, …
Parts Interviews, surveys, other forms of collecting data on a system,…
Succeeding Interactions Evaluation, correcting programmes or projects, other change decisions.
Alternatives Having no data on the condition of a system.
Action Realm Monitoring & Evaluation
Risks Poor monitoring can leads to problems discovered (too) late.
Further reading Monitoring (Wikipedia)

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Position of Monitoring among the interactions: