Health Impact Assessment (HIA)

Evaluating your HIA

This page provides a brief introduction to HIA, and also links you to many resources that describe and assist evaluation of HIA in the HIA Evaluation Cookbook.

It is essential for HIA practitioners to engage with evaluation and monitoring activities, and disseminate their completed case studies, their evaluation findings and key lessons learned. Without this, the effectiveness of HIA cannot be demonstrated and its credibility is weakened. Evaluation also helps to show that the resources that you have been given to carry out HIA have been wisely spent (showing accountability).

Evaluation is the systematic collection of data that will allow a judgement to be made about the value of a programme or intervention, allow reflection about what is happening and provide an assessment of whether you have achieved what you set out to do. Evaluation involves the systematic collection of information from a range of participants, making use of a variety of research methods. Many other commentators split evaluation of health promotion initiatives into three types:

  • Process evaluation: measuring the activities that occur while a programme is running, identifying who is involved and whether the separate components of a programme are working.
  • Impact evaluation: measuring the immediate effect of a programme (particularly its objectives).
  • Outcome evaluation: measuring the long-term effects of a programme (particularly its goals).

These stages, and the terminology used within them, form the basis of evaluation of health impact assessment.

There is no one correct way of doing HIA evaluation – instead there are a variety of choices open to the evaluator and these are highlighted in detail in these references. It is important for typical HIA evaluations to focus on the process of the HIA and the impact that it has on the decision making process.