Methods Lab

The Methods Lab is an action-learning collaboration between the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), BetterEvaluation (BE) and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The Methods Lab seeks to develop, test, and institutionalise flexible approaches to impact evaluations. It focuses on interventions which are harder to evaluate because of their diversity and complexity or where traditional impact evaluation approaches may not be feasible or appropriate, with the broader aim of identifying lessons with wider application potential.

Realist impact evaluation: an introduction

Author: Gill Westhorp

Realist impact evaluation is an approach to impact evaluation that emphasises the importance of context for programme outcomes. This introduction will help evaluators and commissioners of evaluations to decide whether a realist approach is appropriate for evaluating the impact of a particular policy or programme.

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Evaluability assessment for impact evaluation

Authors: Greet Peersman (BetterEvaluation), Irene Guijit (ODI), Tiina Pasanen (ODI).

This document provides an overview of the utility of and specific guidance and a tool for implementing an evaluability assessment before an impact evaluation is undertaken. The guide starts with a brief overview of how evaluability assessment can be helpful at different stages of the intervention cycle, but then focuses on its use before undertaking a planned impact evaluation.

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Addressing gender in impact evaluation

Author: Gillian Fletcher (LaTrobe University)

This paper is a resource for practitioners and evaluators who want to include a genuine focus on gender impact when commissioning or conducting evaluations.

The guide explains the implications of this crucial distinction for categorising interventions with an explicit or implicit gender focus and for assessing their impact on gender-related injustice and inequality.

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How to design an M&E framework for a policy research project

Authors: Tiina Pasanen (ODI) and Louise Shaxson (ODI)

This guidance note focuses on the designing and structuring of a monitoring and evaluation framework for policy research projects and programmes.

It ​aims to support the first steps in designing and structuring the M&E framework: what aspects or areas of policy research projects to monitor and evaluate, why, when and how.​

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When and how to develop an impact-oriented monitoring and evaluation system

Authors: Greet Peersman (BetterEvaluation), Patricia Rogers (BetterEvaluation), Irene Guijt (ODI), Simon Hearn (ODI), Tiina Pasanen (ODI) and Anne L. Buffardi (ODI)

Many development programme staff have had the experience of commissioning an impact evaluation towards the end of a project or programme only to find that the monitoring system did not provide adequate data about implementation, context, baselines or interim results. This guidance note has been developed in response to this common problem. 

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