General Elimination Methodology has two stages:
1. Identify possible explanations. One of these possible explanations is that the program (or project etc) produced the outcomes and impacts that can be observed. At this stage you should identify as many possible alternative explanations using a combination of options such as:
- Key informant interviews - well-informed local people might know about historical events, local conditions and/or other programs that could have produced the results
- Previous evaluations and research - these might have identified other factors that can produce the results
2. Gather and analyze data to see if the possible alternative explanations can be ruled out.
For example, let's imagine you're evaluating a project that aims to support farmers to apply fertilizer to their winter crops to increase production and hence their income and well-being. If you had data that showed they had had an increase in their annual income, this might be because the program had been effective or this might have been caused by something else.
You would start by possible alternative explanations for the increase in annual income. For example, maybe there was a drought in other areas, so local farmers were able to get a higher price for their crops, even though they had not produced more. Or maybe their increased income had been from the summer crops.
Then you would gather and analyze data to see if these possible alternative explanations could be ruled out. For example, if you had some data about local prices which showed they had been stable, you could rule out increased prices as the reason for increased income. If you had information about when people's income had increased, you might be able to rule out income from their summer crops.
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