This Methods Lab guidance note focuses on the designing and structuring of a monitoring and evaluation framework for policy research projects and programmes.
This resource and the following information was contributed to BetterEvaluation by Hannah Caddick (ODI).
Authors and their affiliation
Tiina Pasanen (ODI) and Louise Shaxson (ODI)
The guidance note 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.
It builds on an M&E framework for policy research projects developed and tested by the Research and Policy in Development (RAPID) programme of the Overseas Development Institute, and draws on case studies of how it has been used by RAPID and other research teams.
Chapter 2 identifies three items to put in place to lay the foundations for your monitoring and evaluation framework:
- developing or reviewing your theory of change;
- identifying the purpose of your evaluation;
- and understanding your knowledge roles and functions.
Chapter 3 guides you through the development of a framework and is structured around six areas:
- Strategy and direction
- Outcomes and impact
Case studies are used throughout the guidance note to provide examples of how the framework has been used by research teams.
How have you used this resource?
This guidance note is useful when embarking on the first steps towards monitoring and evaluating a programme or project. It provides helpful support for taking the first steps in designing and structuring the M&E framework, – that is, what aspects or areas of policy research projects to monitor and evaluate, why, when and how – but doesn’t insist on a ‘on-size-fits-all’ approach.
Many of the steps outlined in this guidance note are applicable to the design of an M&E framework for any large research project, but this framework has been specifically developed for policy research projects, programmes or a portfolio of projects that are multi-component, multi-year, multi-country and/or multi-actor, and where dedicated resources for M&E processes are available.
Why would you recommend it to other people?
Because this guide doesn’t present a rigid framework; it is intended to be used flexibly according to the purpose and characteristics of the individual research project. It pays attention to often neglected elements of strategy and management that are especially important in big, multi-year, multi-million research programmes. It also presents case studies throughout to provide examples of how the framework has been used by research teams.
Read Tiina Pasanen's blog: 4 tips for planning your policy research M&
In this guest blog post, Tiina Pasanen, from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), lays out four key ideas to keep in mind when designing an M&E framework for a policy research project
Pasanen, T., and Shaxson, L. (2016) ‘How to design a monitoring and evaluation framework for a policy research project’. A Methods Lab publication. London: Overseas Development Institute.
'How to design an M&E framework for a policy research project' is referenced in: