Gain the skills and knowledge to more effectively design impact evaluations using a contribution analysis framing.
7 January 2019 - 9:00am to 11 January 2019 - 5:00pm

Why attend?

Many development programmes have overlapping activities that are regulary adapted to changes in the context, and result from collaboration with many partners. Traditional impact evaluation methods are not well suited to deal with this complexity. Contribution Analysis has emerged as a novel structured approach address these challenges. It uses a stepwise process to identify the critical areas where data is needed to reflect on effectiveness and relevance of development interventions. It facilitates accountability for donors and learning for implementers.

You‘ll learn to creatively mix research methods based on a structured process of impact evaluation design. You‘ll learn novel methods that can be used in the mix of methods for Contribution Analysis, including methods for explorative research on small data sets (Qualitative Comparative Analysis), methods for qualitative causal inference (Process Tracing, Realist evaluation), and methods to increase learning and empowerment (Participatory evaluation).

Course aims

To equip individuals and organisations to more effectively design impact evaluations using a contribution analysis framing.

Who should attend?

Experienced consultants involved in impact evaluations; early-stage researchers interested in innovative and mixed research methods; and policymakers commissioning impact evaluations. 

How you’ll learn

You’ll learn through a mixture of presentations plus Q&A, individual and small group work with plenary discussion around a set of case studies. The cases will be referred to each day, and participants will apply their knowledge incrementally to the same case – ending up with a ‘finished’ example of a strong, interlinked mixed-methods research design to collect evidence to verify the theory of change of a project or programme.

Learning Outcomes

At completing this course you will be able to:

  • Understand current debates on impact evaluation methodologies and evidence-based policies.
  • Develop an evaluation design that responds to the evaluation questions and context
  • Choose the optimum mix of tools and techniques to gather and analyse data to support conclusions about effectiveness.
  • Apply learned methods to judge the quality of evaluation approaches for impact evidence. 


Giel Ton, IDS

Marina Apgar, IDS

Entry Requirements

It is essential that participants have an interest in, and preferably experience of, impact evaluation of development projects, programmes or policies.

You will have an undergraduate honours degree in the social sciences or related subject, and at least one year of development related work experience. 

The course is taught in English. To derive the maximum benefit from the course, participants should be proficient in English and able to take an active part in discussions. Your English needs to be of an intermediate standard or higher. Ideally, you will have an International English Language Test System (IELTS) score of 6.5 or above, a Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR) score of B2 or above. 

Course fees

The course costs £1500 for five days, including lunches and refreshments, an evening group dinner, and course materials. It does not include accommodation.

Once you have received confirmation that your application has been approved, the fee must be paid in full on receipt of invoice.

IDS alumni bursary
We are pleased offer one bursary for IDS alumni. This single award, funded by IDS, is in the form of a 20 per cent course fee discount. It is subject to terms and conditions, and will be offered to one applicant on a first-come first-served basis. Please indicate on your application form that you wish to be considered for this bursary.

How to apply

Before applying please read our Terms and Conditions (pdf) and Code of Conduct (pdf).

The application procedure is a three-stage process:

Stage 1: Apply by completing the online application form. Deadline for applications is 19 November 2018 .

Stage 2: You will be notified within one month as to whether your application has been approved or not. Successful applicants will receive the Stage 2 application form and an invoice for the course fee. Places on the course are not guaranteed until fees have been received.

Stage 3: Once fees have been received, you will be sent confirmation of your place on the course and a letter to support your visa application (if required).

You are responsible for organising your own travel and visas (where needed). Please note that UK visa applications can take months to process. Information about local accommodation will be provided by the course coordinator once your fees have been processed. A limited number of study bedrooms at IDS are available for rent on a first come first served basis.

Bespoke versions of this course can also be planned and delivered in country for a single institution or group of institutions and partners, by arrangement. Please contact Leah Plati: for further information.

Institute of Development Studies
Library Road
BN1 9RE Brighton , ESX
United Kingdom
East Sussex GB
Partner(s): Institute of Development Studies

Key contact

Director of the Centre for Development Impact