Monitoring and evaluation for thinking and working politically

This article explores the challenges of monitoring and evaluating politically informed and adaptive programmes in the international development field.


Thomas Aston, Chris Roche, Marta Schaaf & Sue Cant.

Key features

The authors review and analyze various evaluation methodologies suitable for international development programs. They draw from scholarly literature and their own practical experience. They recommend methods that consider generative causality as especially effective. The abstract highlights the importance of acknowledging the politics of uncertainty and evidence generation, valuing diverse experiential knowledge, understanding the local context, accommodating adaptation, and addressing power relations within the evaluation processes.

This article builds on recent attempts to illustrate the kinds of MEL methodologies that are potentially a good fit for programmes that aim to Think and Work Politically (TWP). It discusses and reflects on the more political dimensions of these processes in terms of what and how evaluation is done and whether findings are accepted – and how these interact with questions of methods and evidence. This is explored through several practical examples which have addressed some of these technical and political challenges together in practice.


Aston, T., Roche, C. & Cant, S. (2021). Monitoring and evaluation for thinking and working politically. Evaluation, 28(1).