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Contribution Analysis is an approach for assessing causal questions and inferring causality in real-life program evaluations. It offers a step-by-step approach designed to help managers, researchers, and policymakers arrive at conclusions about the contribution their program has made (or is currently making) to particular outcomes. The essential value of contribution analysis is that it offers an approach designed to reduce uncertainty about the contribution the intervention is making to the observed results through an increased understanding of why the observed results have occurred (or not!) and the roles played by the intervention and other internal and external factors.
An institutional history (IH) is a narrative that records key points about how institutional arrangements – new ways of working – have evolved over time and have created and contributed to more effective ways to achieve project or programme goals. An IH is generated and recorded in a collaborative way by scientists, farmers and other stakeholders. A key intention behind institutional histories is to introduce institutional factors into the legitimate narrative of success and failure in research organizations.
Horizontal evaluation is an approach that combines self-assessment by local participants and external review by peers. Originally developed to evaluate new methodologies for agricultural research and development, horizontal evaluation has wider potential for application. In its original setting, the focus of horizontal evaluation is the actual R&D methodology itself rather than the project per se or the team or organisation that developed it.