UNICEF Webinar 4: Overview: Strategies for Causal Inference

 What is causal attribution? Do you need a counterfactual to determine if something has caused a change?

In webinar four of this series, Professor Patricia Rogers provides an overview of how to determine causal attribution in impact evaluations.

 She covers three broad strategies for causal attribution:

1.      Estimating the counterfactual;

2.      Checking the consistency of evidence for the causal relationships made explicit in the theory of change; and

3.      Ruling out alternative explanations through a logical, evidence-based process.

The webinar took place on Wednesday 20th of May, with a repeat session on Thursday 21st of May.

Like the methodological briefs, the webinars are best suited to UNICEF staff who commission or utilize the results from impact evaluations, but others interested in the topic will likely find them of interest. The objective is to provide an interactive capacity-building experience to UNICEF staff, covering common challenges from the field and answering practical questions.

In partnership with the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, the RMIT University-based BetterEvaluation team worked with evaluation experts and the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) to deliver a series of webinars on impact evaluaton for UNICEF staff on topics pertinent to development professionals. These webinars follow on from a series of 13 methodological briefs on impact evaluation methods

View the other webinars in this series.

Watch Webinar

Download webinar slides

Listen to the Q&A

Can you tell us a bit more about natural experiments? Do they typically include a before-after comparison or are there cases where randomization is used?


Is it possible to do a meta-evaluation of evaluations which used different strategies for causal attribution? 


Do you have some example of indicators for consistency between e.g. counterfactual and case study. How can this modus operandies be analyzed?


About this webinar series

Throughout 2015, BetterEvaluation partnered with the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti to develop eight impact evaluation webinars for UNICEF staff. The objective was to provide an interactive capacity-building experience, customized to focus on UNICEF’s work and the unique circumstances of conducting impact evaluations of programs and policies in international development. The webinars were based on the Impact Evaluation Series – a user-friendly package of 13 methodological briefs and four animated videos – and presented by the briefs' authors. This page provides links not only to the eight webinars, but also to the practical questions and their answers which followed each webinar presentation.

The findings, interpretations and opinions expressed in the webinars are those of the presenters and do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The presenters are independent impact evaluation experts who were commissioned by UNICEF to prepare the webinars and use their own knowledge and judgement on key issues and to provide advice. The questions and comments reflected in the Q & A materials are based on those submitted by UNICEF staff as part of this capacity-building initiative. They do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of UNICEF.

The webinars were commissioned by UNICEF and UNICEF is entitled to all intellectual property and other proprietary rights which bear a direct relation to the contract under which this work was produced. The materials on this page are subject to a Creative Commons license CC BY-NC (Attribution-NonCommercial) and may be used and reproduced in line with the conditions of this licence.

View all eight webinars in this series:


Rogers, P. (2015, February). Overview: Strategies for Causal Inference. Impact evaluation webinars for UNICEF [Webinar]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJ0B2-sD5So

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