The second phase of the evaluation cycle, theory analysis, is about interpreting the results of your data collection. You can employ a variety analytic methods to make sense of the data you have collected, such as qualitative and quality methods.

Depending on the type of evaluation you're conducting depending on the type of evaluation you are conducting, you might want to look for repeating themes or patterns in your data or search for connections between various items. Analysis involves sorting, coding and connecting data to theories and concepts. It also includes understanding the information that you gather from your data.

For instance when you conduct an investigation of participants in a program it is possible to use a theory such as grounded theory (GT) to guide the process of analysis and assist in developing an understanding of your data. GT is an inductive method of research that lets you discover new theories through constant interplay between data collection and analysis. The GT process typically involves open coding to uncover interesting patterns in the data and axial coding for identifying relationships between phenomena and selective coding where you select a central category to hold the emerging ideas together.

The primary category is an amalgamation of all emerging phenomena. It could be either a concept or a grouping. The chosen idea is compared with a theory and the fit is assessed by repeatedly comparing different events to the selected conceptual. During this phase, memos are kept to record and reflect on the emerging concepts.