Public participation in the development and implementation of natural resource management plans has been widely adopted by lead natural resource management agencies. The literature suggests that evaluation of participation initiatives has largely focused on the perspective of proponents, and when it has addressed participant needs, has primarily explored satisfaction with process. This paper reflects on the authors' attempts to evaluate both the process and the outcomes of participation, and to do so by drawing on the perspectives of participants. The approach adopted involved iteratively cycling between the literature and participant perspectives of the purpose, process and outcomes of participation to identify, and test the validity of, a set of criteria to evaluate both processes and outcomes. The intention was to identify an approach that could be used by practitioners to refine the evaluation of public participation in different settings. The specific research setting was the development of the East Gippsland Floodplain Management Strategy.