Attributing development impact: The qualitative impact protocol (QuIP) case book

This freely available, online book brings together case studies using an impact evaluation approach, the Qualitative Impact Protocol (QUIP), without a control group that uses narrative causal statements elicited directly from intended project beneficiaries. 

The QuIP has now been used in many countries, and this book uses case studies from seven countries (Ethiopia, India, Malawi, Mexico, Tanzania, Uganda and UK) assessing a range of activities, including food security, rural livelihoods, factory working conditions, medical training, community empowerment and microcredit for house improvement. It includes comprehensive ‘how to’ QuIP guidelines and practical insights based on these case studies into how to address the numerous methodological challenges thrown up by impact evaluation.

This resource and the following information was contributed by Patricia Rogers.

Authors and their affiliation

James Copestake, Marlies Morsink and Fiona Remnant

Key features

This provides an explanation and detailed examples of a new approach to impact evaluation, which uses a blinded design (where the data collectors don't know about the intervention) to gather detailed narratives from service users about the changes that have occurred and what has contributed to them.

The examples explain the reasons for choosing this approach in the particular situation, what was done to implement it, and how it has been used.  The key message is that it is possible to do a credible and useful impact evaluation without a counterfactual.

One of the useful features is an analysis of other evaluation approaches and how QUIP is similar or different in what it is trying to do or how it does it.

How have you used or intend on using this resource?

I plan to use this to better understand how QUIP is implemented and the situations in which it is most appropriate. 

I am particularly interested in learning from the detailed examples about how causal inference was addressed (apart from attribution by key actors – that is, they thought the program had contributed to the results) and what other evaluation methods or approaches were being used.  I’m also interested in how QUIP can contribute to other tasks, not only causal inference.  For example,  the Ugandan example was in a situation where a counterfactual design (difference-in-difference) had already established there had been an impact, and the QUIP component was primarily intended to explain how this had come about – this is a different situation for using QUIP than the usual one where a counterfactual design is not possible.

Why would you recommend it to other people?

There are still many people who are unaware that there are approaches to impact evaluation that don’t involve a counterfactual.  And this is in part because there are not enough detailed examples of how to do this.  This book provides clear guidance and several very detailed examples which will be invaluable in both explaining the approach and when it might be appropriate and supporting people who want to either try the approach or manage someone who claims to be doing it.

The analysis of different approaches would also be useful for people who are choosing an approach or managing someone who is proposing one.


 Copestake, J., Morsink, M., Remnant, F. (ed.) (2019) Attributing Development Impact: the Qualitative Impact Protocol case book, Rugby, UK, Practical Action Publishing, 

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