Episode studies are an excellent way of investigating the influence of research on policy. Episode studies refer to a case study that focuses on a clear policy change and tracks back to assess what impact research had among the variety of issues that led to the policy change. They could be focusing on a single episode or comparative episodes. It differs from other case study approaches, which usually take an initiative as the starting point and look forward.
Influencing and informing policy is the main aim for many development organisations. However, activities directed at policy change are, in general, very hard to monitor and evaluate. As policy change is often a complex process, it is difficult to isolate the impact of a particular intervention from the influence of other factors and various actors. In addition, monitoring and evaluation tools usually used in managing interventions can be difficult to implement in these contexts.
This paper explores the complex and changing nature of advocacy work, arguing that in many cases standardized forms of Monitoring & Evaluation/ Impact Analysis (M&E/IA) are likely to be inappropriate, as they will probably provide misleading information, and may create incentives that undermine joint action.
The Center for Evaluation Innovation focuses on expanding evaluation practice in new directions and into new arenas. They specialize in fields that are hard to measure, like advocacy, communications, and systems change. In the area of advocacy evaluation, the Center is helping to advance this emerging field through working with many pioneering and creative advocates, evaluators, and funders committed to growing it through collaboration.
This handbook from the Center for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth (CIPPEC) is designed to support research institutions develop monitoring and evaluation and knowledge management systems in order to improve their performance.
The paper presents examples and approaches on conducting M&E of policy research from the current experience of a range of research institutes, think tanks and funding bodies. The approaches have been divided into the following five key performance areas: Strategy and direction; Management; Outputs; Uptake; and Outcomes and impacts. Research programmes or institutes may wish to focus on only one of these areas, or may combine approaches across the areas to form a more comprehensive M&E plan.
Founded in 1998 as a project of the Independent Sector, the Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest (CLPI) is now a national, nonprofit organization that helps charitable organizations increase their effectiveness and impact through advocacy.