Assessing rural transformations: Piloting a qualitative impact protocol in Malawi and Ethiopia

This working paper reports on findings from four pilot studies of a protocol for qualitative impact evaluation of NGO-sponsored rural development projects in Malawi and Ethiopia.

The study aimed to generate credible evidence of impact based on the testimony of intended beneficiaries. The paper discusses the methodology, findings, and lessons learned in addressing problems of attribution, confirmation bias, and generalizability. It also highlights the importance of qualitative methods in evaluating impact, particularly in complex contexts, and provides insights into the challenges and opportunities of using narrative data to assess project impact.

The paper emphasizes the importance of building trusted and sustained collaborative relationships between researchers and practitioners to improve impact evaluation in the face of contextual complexity and diverse stakeholder interests.


Copestake, J. & Remnant, F. (2014). Assessing Rural Transformations: Piloting a Qualitative Impact Protocol in Malawi and Ethiopia. Bath Papers in International Development and Wellbeing, no. 35, Centre for Development Studies, University of Bath. Retrieved from: