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Publications

This IDS Bulletin is the first of two special issues presenting contributions from the event ‘Impact Innovation and Learning: Towards a Research and Practice Agenda for the Future’, organised by IDS in March 2013. The initiative, as well as these two issues, represent a ‘rallying cry’ for impact evaluation to rise to the challenges of a post-MDG/post-2015 development agenda.

Institute of Development Studies 
Institute of Development Studies November 2014
IDS Bulletin

In international development, impact evaluation (IE) is becoming more and more an institutionalised practice. This article starts out by addressing the question of what institutionalisation of IE means and how it could work. Subsequently, the article explores common challenges in monitoring and evaluation functions in the UN system related to the supply of (and to a lesser extent demand for) evidence on impact. Rather than looking for solutions to these challenges in the practice of IE, the article explores the issue of how to improve non-IE monitoring and evaluation practices.

Institute of Development Studies 
Institute of Development Studies November 2014
IDS Bulletin

This article proposes a combination of a popular evaluation approach, contribution analysis (CA), with an emerging method for causal inference, process tracing (PT). Both are grounded in generative causality and take a probabilistic approach to the interpretation of evidence. The combined approach is tested on the evaluation of the contribution of a teaching programme to the improvement of school performance of girls, and is shown to be preferable to either CA or PT alone.

Institute of Development Studies 
Institute of Development Studies November 2014
IDS Bulletin

A lively methodological debate together with organisational adjustments has dominated the international discussion on development evaluation in the last decade. Less discussed have been the evaluation processes, from procurement of consultants to the completion of evaluations, where many donors have used the same ‘system’ with only minor adjustments for many years. A key question is whether this ‘system’ is still ‘fit for purpose’ in view of the increasing complexity of many development interventions.

Institute of Development Studies 
Institute of Development Studies November 2014
IDS Bulletin

Sustainability standards and certification schemes have been promoted as a market-driven instrument for realising development impacts and receive public funding. As a result, companies, NGOs and supporting donors and governments want to know if these ambitions have been fulfilled. Their tendency is to commission household surveys to assess net effects of certification in areas such as poverty, productivity and food security.

Institute of Development Studies 
Institute of Development Studies November 2014
IDS Bulletin

The thrust for evidence-based policymaking has paid little attention to problems of bias. Statistical evidence is more fragile than generally understood, and false positives are all too likely given the incentives of policymakers and academic and professional evaluators. Well-known cognitive biases make bias likely for not dissimilar reasons in qualitative and mixed methods evaluations.

Institute of Development Studies 
Institute of Development Studies November 2014
IDS Bulletin

This was an interactive workshop – supported by the Institute of Development Studies’ (IDS) Department for International Development (DFID) Accountable Grant and the University of East Anglia (UEA) – with a view to opening up the debate on ethics in impact evaluation to a wider audience in 2015.

Institute of Development Studies 
Institute of Development Studies October 2014
IDS Evidence Report

This CDI Practice Paper is about the uses of Systemic Action Research (SAR) and Participatory Systemic Inquiry (PSI) for impact assessment.

Institute of Development Studies 
Institute of Development Studies September 2014
CDI Practice Paper

This CDI Practice Paper by Keetie Roelen and Stephen Devereux reflects on the methodological implications of operationalising an expanded framework for evaluating social protection programmes.

Institute of Development Studies 
Institute of Development Studies January 2014
CDI Practice Paper

The short pieces in the themed debate section speak to the importance of evaluation and replication of evaluations. They can improve the quality of development policy and programmes and explain intended and unintended consequences. The pieces raise questions such as: Is impact evaluation evaluation? Can randomised controlled trials (RCTs) help policy makers? and What does a focus on observables really tell us?

Palgrave Macmillan 
Palgrave Macmillan January 2014
Journal