Evaluation involves the collection of data from many sources and often through many means, as well as the use of multiple criteria. This corpus of information must be rendered sensible through the process of synthesis; that is, the combining of evidence on several dimensions. Synthesis is similar to putting a puzzle together—piecing together information to create a whole. The outcome of this synthesis might be numeric, such as in an overall rating perhaps best typified in a quantitative weight and sum strategy, or through the use of meta-analysis, or the synthesis might be textual, such as in an analytic conclusion.

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