Evaluability assessment for impact evaluation

This document provides an overview of the utility of and specific guidance and a tool for implementing an evaluability assessment before an impact evaluation is undertaken.

This resource and the following information was contributed to BetterEvaluation by Greet Peersman.

Authors and their affiliation

Greet Peersman (BetterEvaluation), Irene Guijt (ODI), Tiina Pasanen (ODI).

Year of publication

2015

Type of resource

Guide

Key features

The guide starts with a brief overview of how evaluability assessment can be helpful at different stages of the intervention cycle, but then focuses on its use before undertaking a planned impact evaluation.
It includes checklists for evaluators to use during an assessment to help answer the following key questions in a transparent manner:

  1. Is it plausible to expect impacts?
  2. Would an impact evaluation be useful and used? 
  3. Is it feasible to assess or measure impacts? 

Finally, the decision support aims to assist with synthesizing evidence-based recommendations to commissioners of impact evaluation whether, when and how to proceed with the evaluation.

Who is this resource useful for?

Evaluators; Commissioners/Managers of evaluation

How have you used or intend on using this resource?

The guide was specifically developed for conducting evaluability assessments as part of the Methods Lab for Impact Evaluation – an action learning collaboration between the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), BetterEvaluation (BE) and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). It was piloted and further refined during assessments in Afghanistan, Nepal, and The Pacific and based on feedback from a range of evaluators and commissioners of evaluation.

Why would you recommend it to other people?

The checklists and decision support have been field-tested for different types of development interventions in quite different settings. They can be adapted easily to suit other needs and contexts, so they provide a good starting point for a systematic and transparent assessment process.

Contents

  • Using evaluability assessments
    What is evaluability and why assess it?
    How can an evaluability assessment be used?
    What should an evaluability assessment cover?
  • How can an evaluability assessment support impact evaluation?
    What is particular about impact evaluation?
    How can an evaluability assessment support decision-making?
  • Getting started with an evaluability assessment for impact evaluation
    Using an internal or external team
    Clarifying the purpose and developing a checklist
    Determining appropriate data collection methods
    Being transparent about judgements
    Being realistic about required resources
  • Evaluability assessment checklist & decision support for impact evaluation
  • What happens after the assessment?
  • Lessons learned from practice
  • Additional resources

Further reading

Source

Peersman, G. and Guijt, I. and Pasanen, T. (2015). Evaluability Assessment for Impact Evaluation. Guidance, Checklist and Decision Support for Those Conducting the Assessment. London: ODI Methods Lab, Overseas Development Institute & BetterEvaluation. 

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A special thanks to this page's contributors
Resource Suggested By
Deputy Director/BetterEvaluation Project & Associate Professor/ANZSOG, The Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG).
Melbourne, Australia.

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