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Publications

Development economics has become increasingly quantified in recent years, reflecting the aspirations of economists to practise hard science. We argue that standard applied econometric methodology lacks one key feature of the claim of science to be scientific, namely replication as part of independent confirmation of findings.

Routledge 
Routledge November 2013
Journal
The past decade has seen an increasing emphasis on ethical procedures for international development research, drawing heavily on medical models focused on the protection of subjects (for example, informants, vulnerable groups or those in conflict/post-disaster situations. Despite this, other dimensions of research ethics seem to us to be relatively neglected, namely, obligations to society, funders and employers and peers (development practitioners, policymakers and researchers). These obligations include doing non-trivial, beneficent and high-quality research.
Sage Publications 
Sage Publications October 2013
Journal

As the emphasis on evidence-based policymaking in international development increases, so too should the attention paid to the quality of the research on which this evidence is based. One way to encourage this is by archiving research data to enable reanalysis, but this requirement is often ignored or resisted by development researchers. Similarly, ambivalent feelings are expressed about revisits to former research sites to conduct further research by original and other researchers.

Sage Publications 
Sage Publications October 2013
Journal

Policy impact is a complex process influenced by multiple factors. An intermediate step in this process is policy uptake, or the adoption of measures by policymakers that reflect research findings and recommendations.

Institute of Development Studies 
Institute of Development Studies October 2013
CDI Practice Paper

A common presumption holds that when there is only one unit of observation, such as in the case of a national-level policy or a small scale intervention, causality cannot be established and impact evaluation methods do not apply.

Yet many development interventions have single communities or organisations as their target, just as in other cases we are interested in the impact of a programme in a particular community, not for the average community.

Institute of Development Studies 
Institute of Development Studies July 2013
CDI Practice Paper

Most agency evaluations are very short both on resources and in duration, with no proper opportunity to assess impact in a valid manner.

The methodology for these evaluations is based on interviews, a review of available programme literature and possibly a quick visit to one (often unrepresentative and usually successful) programme site. This means that the results of the evaluations are heavily dependent on the experience and judgement of the evaluator, the opinions received, and level of support from the commissioner.

Institute of Development Studies 
Institute of Development Studies May 2013
CDI Practice Paper

This CDI Practice Paper is based on an analysis of international NGO (INGO) evaluation practice in empowerment and accountability (E&A) programmes commissioned by CARE UK, Christian Aid, Plan UK and World Vision UK. It reviews evaluation debates and their implications for INGOs.

Institute of Development Studies 
Institute of Development Studies March 2013
CDI Practice Paper

Natural experiments are observational studies of sharp, well-defined but unplanned changes. They hinge on identifying an uncontrolled but opportune 'intervention', typically of a kind or on a scale that could not – ethically or feasibly – be implemented deliberately, and communities, groups, or individuals that are affected and not affected, or that are differentially affected by that intervention. More than a method, natural experiments can also be understood as a resource – opportunities that must be recognised and wisely exploited.

Institute of Development Studies 
Institute of Development Studies March 2013
CDI Practice Paper

While randomized experiments can be valuable tools in evaluating aid effectiveness, research designs limit the role of qualitative methods to ‘field visits’ or description of contexts. This article suggests expanding the role of qualitative methods and highlights their advantages and limitations relative to survey methods. It reviews a range of qualitative methods and suggests that life histories are compatible with the internal and external validity criteria of randomized experiments.

January 2013
Journal