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  1. Impact evaluation

    Development Theme

    An impact evaluation provides information about the impacts produced by an intervention - positive and negative, intended and unintended, direct and indirect. This means that an impact evaluation must establish what has been the cause of observed changes (in this case ‘impacts’) referred to as causal attribution (also referred to as causal inference).

  2. Monitoring and Evaluation for Impact Investing

    Impact investment aims to create positive social change alongside financial returns, thereby creating blended value. Impact investments differ from earlier forms of socially aligned or socially responsible investments in that the intention behind the impact investment is to have a positive effect on society as opposed to merely avoiding negative effects (Flynn, Young, & Barnett, 2015 p.11). Assessing the intended and actual blended value created is an important part of impact investing.

  3. Evaluating Capacity Development

    Development Theme

    Unlike programs supporting health, livelihoods, and other impact areas, capacity development does not have stand-alone outcomes. Instead, capacity development supports a diverse set of goals in different sectors, at different levels, through different activities. Capacity development consequently presents multiple monitoring and evaluation opportunities and challenges for practitioners.  Some important issues surrounding capacity development and evaluation are:

  4. Adaptive management

    Development Theme

    The term 'adaptive management' refers to adaptation that goes beyond the usual adaptation involved in good management - modifying plans in response to changes in circumstances or understanding, and using information to inform these decisions.

    Adaptive management refers to an approach to managing under conditions of ongoing uncertainty which represents a paradigm shift from classic, linear approaches to planning, implementation and evaluation. 

  5. Better Monitoring

    Development Theme

    Phase 1 funded by UNICEF

    Globally, the monitoring function in and across organisations has not always benefitted from the same collective investment and inter-organisation cooperation in professionalization and systems strengthening as the planning and evaluation functions.

  6. Footprint evaluation

    Footprint evaluation focuses on the ‘footprint’ that human systems make on natural systems. This requires attention to the nexus between human systems and natural systems. Footprint evaluation is grounded in the premise that all evaluations should include consideration of environmental sustainability, even when this is not a stated goal of the intervention. This is so that decision-making can take into account the potential and actual impacts of planned interventions (projects, programs, policies) on the environment. 

  7. Monitoring

    Development Theme

    Monitoring is a process to periodically collect, analyse and use information to actively manage performance, maximise positive impacts and minimise the risk of adverse impacts. It is an important part of effective management because it can provide early and ongoing information to help shape implementation in advance of evaluations.

  8. Evaluability Assessment

    Development Theme

    An assessment of the extent to which an intervention can be evaluated in a reliable and credible fashion.

  9. Evaluating the Performance of an Organisation

    Development Theme

    An organisational assessment is a systematic process for obtaining valid information about the performance of an organisation and the factors that affect performance.  It differs from other types of evaluations because the assessment focuses on the organisation as the primary unit of analysis. 

  10. Complexity

    Development Theme

    An issue of increasing interest in evaluation, especially development evaluation, is whether and how we might apply ideas and methods from complexity science to evaluation.

    Complexity ideas and methods have important applications for how we think about programs and policies, how we collect and analyse data, and how we report findings and support their use.

    Since 2014 this has been one of the priority themes that BetterEvaluation has focused on.