C4D R,M&E through the Rainbow Framework

The Rainbow Framework structures the main, practical 'tasks' involved in doing research, monitoring and evaluation (R,M&E) into seven themes or 'clusters'. 

The C4D Resource Hub uses the Rainbow Framework structure to give practical recommendations on tools, methods and resources that are in keeping with the seven principles for C4D R,M&E (as adapted in the Evaluating C4D project), with links to C4D specific examples where possible.

Remember, these are not steps. Most people will explore the tasks based on need and interest, rather than follow the clusters one after the other. For example, tasks under 'MANAGE' are undertaken at different points in the R,M&E process.    

MANAGE the evaluation or study or the R,M&E system

Understand and engage stakeholders 

Establish Decision making processes 

Decide who will conduct the research/ evaluation (or other studies for monitoring)

Determine and secure resources 

Define ethical and quality standards for RM&E 

Develop Planning Documents (Evaluation/Research Plans and M&E Frameworks)

Document management processes and agreements 

Review RM&E systems and studies (meta evaluation) 

Develop RM&E capacity

DEFINE what is to be research, monitored and evaluated.


Develop initial description 

Develop program theory/logic model 

Identify potential unintended results 

FRAME the boundaries for the R,M&E




Identify primary intended users 

Decide purpose 

Specify the key Research/M&E questions 

Determine what 'success' looks like 

DESCRIBE activities, outcomes, impacts and contexts


Use measures, indicators or metrics

Collect and/or retrieve data (methods)

Manage data

Combine qualitative and quantitative data

Analyse data

Visualise data

UNDERSTAND CAUSES of outcomes and impacts

Investigate Causal Attribution and Contribution

SYNTHESISE data from one or more sources

Synthesise data from a single study/evaluation 

Synthesise data across studies (research, monitoring data, evaluations)

Generalise findings 





Identify reporting requirements 

Develop reporting media 

Ensure accessibility 

Develop recommendations 

Support use