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

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 Methods Lab guidance note by Greet Peersman, Patricia Rogers, Irene Guijt, Simon Hearn, Tiina Pasanen and Anne L. Buffardi has been developed in response to this common problem.

This resource and the following information was contributed to BetterEvaluation by Patricia Rogers (BetterEvaluation).

Authors and their affiliation

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

Year of publication


Type of resource

Discussion paper

Key features

This guidance note focuses on:

  • what an impact-oriented monitoring and evaluation system entails
  • why an organisation may want to establish such a system
  • when integrating an impact-orientation into an monitoring and evaluation system is most useful
  • what should be considered in developing the monitoring and evaluation system, or in tweaking an existing system, to become more impact-focused.

Who is this resource useful for?

  • Program managers
  • Advocates for evaluation;
  • Evaluation users;
  • Evaluators;
  • Those involved in evaluation capacity strengthening

How have you used or intend on using this resource?

I was a co-author on this paper.  I intend to use it when working with people to develop monitoring systems that will lay the foundation for impact evaluation as well as informing management and implementation.

Why would you recommend it to other people?

Because it suggests a solution to a very common problem in impact evaluation – failure to ensure that adequate data are collected during implementation.  It provides realistic suggestions for when it is appropriate to develop an impact-oriented monitoring system and how it might be done – including ways of addressing complication and complexity.  It draws on the practical experience of a number of contributors and examples in order to provide actionable advice.


Peersman, G., Rogers, P., Guijt, I., Hearn, S., Pasanen, T., and Buffardi, A. (2016) ‘When and how to develop an impact-oriented monitoring and evaluation system’. A Methods Lab publication. London: Overseas Development Institute.

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