Using Action Research and Learning for Politically Informed Programming

Michael O'Keefe et al.

This Research Paper outlines preliminary findings about how action research can help build more politically informed development programs. It discusses action research being undertaken by the Pacific Leadership Program, the Coalitions for Change program in the Philippines, and DLP. This approach combines theory and practice to support development practitioners to think and ...» more

What evidence is available and what is required, in humanitarian assistance?

Mike Clarke et al.

This paper investigates the current landscape of evidence in the humanitarian sector, with particular emphasis on evidence from impact evaluation. This is in an attempt to identify areas in which actionable evidence is available and those where more evidence is needed, so as to direct research to where it will be most valuable. It finds a paucity of evidence in most areas, ...» more

What is the evidence on the impact of research on international development? A DFID literature review

Kirsty Newman

Four pathways are commonly cited to describe how research will contribute to development: (i) driving economic growth, (ii) increasing human capital, (iii) leading to the development of pro-poor products and technologies and (iv) providing evidence to inform policies and practice. This literature review examines the evidence related to each of these four pathways. It ...» more

Emerging Opportunities: Monitoring and Evaluation in a Tech-Enabled World

Linda Raftree, Michael Bamberger

This paper explores how ICTs are helping to overcome common M&E challenges, including “real-world” challenges and methodological and conceptual challenges. It offers ideas on untested areas where ICTs could play a role in evaluation, and an in-depth discussion of some of the new challenges, problems and risks that arise when incorporating ICTs into the M&E process as a whole. ...» more

Theories of Change in international development: communication, learning, or accountability?

Craig Valters

The Theory of Change approach – an increasingly popular management tool and discourse in development – aims to challenge and change implicit assumptions in world views and programmes, yet little is known about the extent to which it really does so. This paper analyses how Theories of Change are used in the day-to-day practice of an international development organisation, The ...» more

Real-Time Evaluation of Humanitarian Assistance Revisited: Lessons Learned and the Way Forward

Susanna Krueger, Elias Sagmeister

This paper argues that in order to improve the practical benefit of real-time evaluation (RTE), humanitarian organizations need to be even more selective and modest in its use. Wherever real-time evaluation is used, it should prioritise endogenous learning in organizations over questions of accountability and control.The study is based on a meta-evaluation of 44 RTE reports, ...» more

Community-driven development and indigenous, ethnic minority, and disability issues

Few CDD programmes explicitly address minority issues. Many programmes target vulnerable groups such as women, youth, disabled, ethnic minorities, but as one group rather than distinguishing their differing needs. Few programmes are targeted specifically at vulnerable groups alone. Many programmes focus on reducing poverty and vulnerability, with the implicit assumption that ...» more

Evaluating impacts of peacebuilding interventions

Diana Chingas, Madeline Church, Vanessa Corlazzoli

This paper examines the issues inherent in evaluating impacts of peacebuilding interventions and aims to ensure evaluation designs are appropriate, robust and conflict-sensitive. It offers a perspective on what impact evaluation means in a peacebuilding context, and highlights the importance of conflict analysis to understand and test the relevance of any intervention to the ...» more

Evaluations of scaling up

Factors that affect the success of scaling up include: Politics: A number of evaluations suggest that political support is a key success factor, and offer recommendations on how to build this support. Demonstrating how the programme will help achieve key government goals, as well as building personal connections with government officials. Decentralisation can make scale up ...» more

Evidence of impact of emergency cash transfers on gender and protection

Key messages: The major trends and gaps in the evidence in this report are: On the whole, ‘gender’ is used to refer to women. More recent papers include more analysis of how CTs impact men, especially on if they find it disempowering for women to be favoured as beneficiaries. Gender analysis is not deeply ingrained into emergency CT programme evaluation. Many papers include a ...» more

Gender in community-driven development

Elite capture is a significant concern. The evidence is clear that 'uncontrolled' CDD will not necessarily benefit women, the poor and other disadvantaged groups. Women's participation is a central problem as they do not usually have the time and/or confidence to contribute to village planning processes. To reach women and other disadvantaged groups, CDD needs to have explicit ...» more

Evaluating Outside the Box: Mixing Methods in Analysing Social Protection Programmes

Keetie Roelen, Stephen Devereux

This paper proposes a framework for evaluating social protection programmes that (1) assesses a broader range of impacts, and (2) uses a broader range of methods in a more holistic way. It draws on a case study of an evaluation of a cash transfer pilot programme in Tigray, Ethiopia.Most evaluations of social protection programmes have two limitations. Firstly, they measure a ...» more

The Millennium Development Goals Report 2013


This report examines the progress made in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2013 and outlines how to meet the goals by the agreed deadline of 2015. It is based on a master set of data compiled by an Inter-Agency and Expert Group on MDG Indicators led by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the UN Secretariat. The Group comprises representatives of ...» more

Back to Basics: A Compilation of Best Practices in Design, Monitoring & Evaluation in Fragile and Conflict-affected Environments

Vanessa Corlazzoli, Jonathan White

Conflict-affected and fragile environments can change quickly. How can you ensure your programme is flexible enough to adapt to the changing environment? This practical guide focuses on the key elements of programme design in fragile and conflict environments, and what steps need to be taken to ensure that effective monitoring and evaluation processes are built in from the ...» more

Impact Evaluation of Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding Interventions

Marie Gaarder; Jeannie Annan

Impact evaluations are increasingly used as a tool to establish what works, why and under what circumstances in a variety of development sectors. However, doubts have been voiced as to the feasibility and desirability of carrying out impact evaluation in contexts of conflict and fragility. Some evaluators and practitioners in this field raise four main concerns: (i) it is ...» more

The Fragility Spectrum. Note on the g7+ Fragility Spectrum


This note sets out the rationale and benefits of a ‘spectrum approach’ to fragility, and the purpose and use of country-specific fragility spectrums and indicators (developed through fragility assessments). It also discusses the utility of a consolidated fragility spectrum and a shared menu of indicators. The note is the result of the g7+ discussion on the Fragility Spectrum. ...» more

Practical Approaches to Theories of Change in Conflict, Security, and Justice Programmes: Part II: Using Theories of Change in Monitoring and Evaluation

Vanessa Corlazzoli, Jonathan White

The goal of this document is to improve the effectiveness of DFID programmes and the measurement of their impacts by providing DFID Advisers with the practical skills to develop high quality theories of change, to understand the role they play in programme design and assessment. It is intended for DFID advisors to more clearly and explicitly articulate their theories of change ...» more

Using Evaluation for a Change: Insights from humanitarian practitioners

Alistair Hallam, Francesca Bonino

This paper seeks to motivate and encourage humanitarian evaluators by highlighting and discussing concrete ways to address the challenge of poor or ineffective use of evaluation. The use of insights and case studies from evaluation colleagues in the humanitarian sector is designed to reinforce the sense that much is possible. It is hoped that this framework will contribute to ...» more

Monitoring and evaluating conflict sensitivity: methodological challenges and practical solutions

Rachel Goldwyn, Diana Chigas

This document gives practical guidance on how to monitor and evaluate the interaction between an intervention and conflict. It includes a discussion of the methodological questions that arise when embarking on a process to monitor and evaluate for unintended interactions with conflict, as well as a range of practical and field-tested tools. This document aims to help those ...» more

What works for market development: A review of the evidence

Sunil Sinha et al.

This study serves two main purposes: i) to inform Sida of the evidence of what works for market development and the results frameworks and results chains derived from it; and ii) to identify the gaps in evidence and recommend what Sida should focus on in evaluating its market development portfolio. It focuses on private sector development (PSD), financial sector development ...» more