Innovations in evaluation: How to choose, develop and support them

This brief opens up some of the issues and questions about why and how to adopt innovations in evaluation, and discusses how innovations can be useful in addressing eight long standing challenges in evaluation. It builds on a webinar delivered by Patricia Rogers in May 2018 as a joint project of UNICEF, BetterEvaluation and EVALSDGs.

Overview

This paper is intended to support people looking for something more in evaluation.  

When existing evaluation tools, processes, methods and systems are not enough, you need to draw on innovations in evaluation.

Innovation does not always mean invention of something new.  It can involve translation from another setting, bricolage (combining) of existing elements, or systematisation of some existing good practices. 

This brief will help you identify where innovation might be most needed and develop appropriate strategies to support innovation.  It describes a number of innovations to address particular challenges and provides links to more information about these and other innovations.

Challenges and featured innovations

  • Framing the evaluation around intended uses and primary intended users (featured innovation: Data rehearsal)
  • Checking for equity effects (featured innovation: Disaggregating data)
  • Measuring the hard to measure (featured innovation: Big data)
  • Including the effect of other interventions and factors (Triple-row logic models)
  • Communicating findings to time poor users (featured innovation: Layering reporting media)
  • Involving the least powerful beneficiaries in conducting and decision-making about an evaluation (featured innovation: Children as evaluators)
  • Investigating cause and effect when a counterfactual isn’t possible and/or when causality is complicated (featured innovation: Process tracing)
  • Making values transparent (featured innovation: Rubrics)
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