The formative evaluation does not have separate methods since it is an overarching term that refers to principles behind the methods used during development. To illustrate and further clarify this, some practical examples of methods that convey the principles from formative evaluation are provided below.
- In the contextual inquiry phase, snowball sampling is used to ask existing stakeholders to identify missing stakeholders. This is an example of formative evaluation, since it assists in validating whether the list of stakeholders is complete and reflects the actual context.
- In the value specification phase, lists of requirements are often verified by stakeholders once they are drawn up. This assists the team in ensuring that the requirements they elicited from focus groups and interviews are still relevant and make sense to the stakeholders.
- In the design phase of the technology, a straightforward example of formative evaluation is usability testing among users via the think-aloud method. This method aims to make sure the technology fits the user’s opinion.
- During the operationalization phase, the involvement of stakeholders in finishing up the business model and making a plan on how to implement the model is an example of formative evaluation. Involving stakeholders in the implementation increases the chances of the implementation strategies fitting the context.
In the previous sub phase, it was monitored whether a project is still on track to detect problems as early as posible and solve these problems as soon as possible. In this sub phase, the aim is to make sure that the relationship between the technology, takeholder and context is guaranteed. In this way, formative evaluation can be used to identify potential implementation problems and tackle them in early phases of development.