Impact evaluation of development interventions: a practical guide

This guide written by Howard White and David Raitzer (available as a free PDF download) offers guidance on the principles, methods, and practice of impact evaluation, covering experimental, quasi-experimental and regression-based designs and approaches (not non-experimental approaches such as process tracing, qualitative comparative analysis, QUIP or comparative case studies).

It contains material for a range of audiences, from those who may use or manage impact evaluations to applied researchers.

This resource and the following information was contributed by David Raitzer.

Authors and their affiliation

Howard White, Independent Consultant

David Raitzer, Asian Development Bank

Key features

Impact evaluation is an empirical approach to estimating the causal effects of interventions, in terms of both magnitude and statistical significance. Expanded use of impact evaluation techniques is critical to rigorously derive knowledge from development operations and for development investments and policies to become more evidence-based and effective. To help backstop more use of impact evaluation approaches, this book introduces core concepts, methods, and considerations for planning, designing, managing, and implementing impact evaluation, supplemented by examples. The topics covered range from impact evaluation purposes to basic principles, specific methodologies, and guidance on field implementation. It has materials for a range of audiences, from those who are interested in understanding evidence on “what works” in development, to those who will contribute to expanding the evidence base as applied researchers.

How have you used or intend on using this resource?

The book is useful for introducing operational/project staff to impact evaluation concepts, refreshing researchers on specific techniques, and backstopping discussions about impact evaluation options for specific projects. It provides concise, non-technical definitions of key concepts, as well as the details necessary for evaluators to begin to apply the techniques introduced.

Why would you recommend it to other people?

Compared with other previous books, this guide:

i) provides clearer definitions of key concepts up front;

ii) introduces more methodological options for impact evaluations and compares their characteristics;

iii) describes more practical considerations for randomised controlled trials;

iv) gives clearer and easier to use guidance on data collection and sample power calculations. 

It also offers a number of examples of the application of impact evaluation techniques to more methodologically challenging areas, such as infrastructure, and links to many other relevant resources.


White, H. & Raitzer, D. (2017). Impact Evaluation of Development Interventions: A Practical Guide. Retrieved from