Evaluation Digest
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Evaluation Digest
Bringing you the most recent scoops on international development evaluation evidence, methods and lessons from around the world! (Curators in no way endorse or verify content of scooped features).
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The current state of peacebuilding programming and evidence. 3ie Scoping Paper

The current state of peacebuilding programming and evidence. 3ie Scoping Paper | Evaluation Digest | Scoop.it

This scoping paper reviews the supply of and demand for evidence from impact evaluations and systematic reviews on peacebuilding interventions. The scoping paper reveals several areas where the demand for evidence is high and the supply is low. There are other areas where some evidence exists, but a high demand for evidence suggests the need for further research or for meta-analysis to synthesise the existing research.

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Handbook of Field Experiments | The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab

The last 15 years have seen an explosion in the number, scope, quality, and creativity of field experiments. To take stock of this remarkable progress, we were invited to edit a "Handbook of Field Experiments", now forthcoming at Elsevier. We were fortunate to assemble a volume made of wonderful papers by the best experts in the field. Some chapters are more methodological, while others are focused on results. All of them provide thoughtful reflections on the advances and issues in the field, useful research tips and insights into what the next steps need to be, all of which should be very useful for graduate students. Taken together, these papers offer an incredibly rich overview of the state of literature. This page collects together all the working papers version of the chapters, and will also link to the final versions as they become available. We hope you enjoy it. —Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo
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Power calculation for causal
inference in social science
Sample size and minimum detectable
effect determination

This manual was written by 3ie evaluation specialists in response to growing demand for more technical guides on impact evaluation designs and methods. It covers experimental impact evaluations and is designed to be used in conjunction with the online 3ie Sample size and minimum detectable effect calculator© developed in-house.
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Evidence from Secondary Quantitative
and Primary Qualitative Data

There is widespread recognition that mixed-methods approaches are a ‘platinum standard’ in research and evaluation and that the expanding availability of secondary quantitative data creates unprecedented opportunities for studying poverty and evaluating poverty reduction programmes. At the same time, this expanding availability of secondary quantitative data presents methodological shortcomings that are underexplored. This paper by Keetie Roelen1 explores the ‘matching problem’ and a participatory tool for overcoming this challenge in a bid to offer wider reflections about the combination of secondary and primary data as well as quantitative and qualitative data in mixed-methods studies and evaluation. It does so in reference to research on child poverty in Burundi, Ethiopia and Vietnam.
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Reflections from a Realist
Evaluation in Progress: Scaling
Ladders and Stitching Theory

Realist evaluation provides valuable insights into how and why programmes lead to change, and can generate transferable lessons to help practitioners roll out or scale up an intervention. However, as yet there are few standards and guidelines governing what counts as a ‘good’ realist evaluation. This CDI Practice Paper, written by Melanie Punton, Isabel Vogel and Rob Lloyd, reflects on the first year of a three-year realist impact evaluation, examining the Building Capacity to Use Research Evidence (BCURE) programme funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). It describes some of the challenges faced and lessons learned, providing insights into the potential value of realist approaches within international development.
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The effect of transfers and
preschool on children’s cognitive
development in Uganda

This study by Gilligan and Roy examines the impacts of two transfer modalities linked to school enrolment on children’s cognitive and non-cognitive development in Karamoja, Uganda. The study finds that, while multiple-micronutrient-fortified food transfers had no significant impact, cash transfers led to a significant increase in cognitive measures of children by about nine percentage points relative to the control group.
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Planned RCT to test intervention that gives 6,000 Kenyans enough money to escape poverty

Planned RCT to test intervention that gives 6,000 Kenyans enough money to escape poverty | Evaluation Digest | Scoop.it
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Tanzania - Do campaigns to get people to wash hands and use (improved) toilets work? (English) | The World Bank

Tanzania - Do campaigns to get people to wash hands and use (improved) toilets work? (English)
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The Rich Live Longer Everywhere. For the Poor, Geography Matters.

The Rich Live Longer Everywhere. For the Poor, Geography Matters. | Evaluation Digest | Scoop.it
In some parts of the country, adults with the lowest incomes die on average as young as people in much poorer nations like Rwanda, and their life spans are getting shorter.
DfID Evaluation Department's insight:
Maybe we should make a prima facie determination of their levels of poverty based on where poor people live than attempt to assess multiple national indicators and disaggregate by each indicator and geographical area.
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We cannot learn the lessons of Ebola if we continue to undervalue local efforts | David Miliband

We cannot learn the lessons of Ebola if we continue to undervalue local efforts  | David Miliband | Evaluation Digest | Scoop.it
Reports into the Ebola outbreak overemphasise the role of the World Health Organisation while neglecting the importance of local community responses
DfID Evaluation Department's insight:
Some thoughts on learning from lessons from David Milliband.
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SIGAR | Newsroom

SIGAR | Newsroom | Evaluation Digest | Scoop.it
SIGAR Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction Home Page
DfID Evaluation Department's insight:

A frank assessment by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction of what went wrong in Afghanistan. The high-risk areas include: corruption, sustainability, contract management and coinated strategy and planning.


"Afghanistan's former interior minister, Ali Jalili said, "It was an accidental war" following the 9/11 terror attacks, ". . . with no plans or strategy for what needs to happen after that."[31] Similar observations have been made about the Iraq war."

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Aid Isn’t Reaching the Very Poorest Countries

Aid Isn’t Reaching the Very Poorest Countries | Evaluation Digest | Scoop.it
The good news is that international aid reached a record high, in real terms, in 2014. The bad news is that aid to the very poorest countries fell sharply in 2014, reversing the welcome trend over the last decade of allocating more aid to the poorest countries. This is a problem because low-income countries need aid the most.
DfID Evaluation Department's insight:
Owen is always good value
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ALNAP | Evaluating humanitarian action

ALNAP | Evaluating humanitarian action | Evaluation Digest | Scoop.it
DfID Evaluation Department's insight:

This is one of the best presented evaluation handbooks I have come across. It is designed to be used on line - particularly a tabet and doesn't require printing to make it readable.


It is structured according to its readership who can quickly navigate around the manual / app.

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When and how to develop an impact-oriented monitoring and evaluation system

When and how to develop an impact-oriented monitoring and evaluation system | Evaluation Digest | Scoop.it
​Many development programme staff experience the common problem of commissioning an impact evaluation towards the end of a programme only to find that the monitoring system failed to provide adequate data. This guidance note looks at:
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Clearing the fog: new tools for
improving the credibility of
impact claims

Development actors facing pressure to provide more rigorous assessments of their impact on policy and practice need new methods to deliver them. There is now a broad consensus that the traditional counterfactual analysis leading to the assessment of the net effect of an intervention is incapable of capturing the complexity of factors at play in any particular policy change. We suggest that evaluations focus instead on establishing whether a clearly-defined process of change has taken place, and improve the validity and credibility of qualitative impact statements. IIED research in Uganda shows that the methods of process tracing and Bayesian updating facilitate a dialogue between theory and evidence that allows us to assess our degree of confidence in ‘contribution claims’ in a transparent and replicable way.
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Qualitative Comparative Analysis: A Valuable Approach to Add to the Evaluator’s ‘Toolbox’? Lessons from Recent Applications

Qualitative Comparative Analysis: A Valuable Approach to Add to the Evaluator’s ‘Toolbox’? Lessons from Recent Applications | Evaluation Digest | Scoop.it

A heightened focus on demonstrating development results has increased the stakes for evaluating impact (Stern 2015), while the more complex objectives and designs of international aid programmes make it ever more challenging to attribute effects to a particular intervention (Befani, Barnett and Stern 2014). Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) is part of a new generation of approaches that go beyond the standard counterfactual logic in assessing causality and impact. Based on the lessons from three diverse applications of QCA, this CDI Practice Paper by Florian Schatz and Katharina Welle reflects on the potential of this approach for the impact evaluation toolbox.

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Thirty-five years later: Evaluating the impacts of a child health and family planning programme in Bangladesh

This study by Tania Barham, Randall Kuhn, Jane Menken and Abudur Razzaque examined the long-term impact of the Matlab Maternal and Child Health and Family Planning Programme in Bangladesh that began in 1977. Thirty-five years after it began, the study looked at two key measures of human capital: height and cognitive functioning. The findings showed that the programme led to important and sustained effects on a person’s height through adulthood. There were important effects on cognitive functioning through late childhood that did not persist through adulthood. Future research needs to investigate if these effects on cognitive functioning through late childhood still led to gains in other aspects of these people’s lives.
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The effect of conditional transfers
on intimate partner violence
Evidence from northern Ecuador

The effect of conditional transfers<br/>on intimate partner violence<br/>Evidence from northern Ecuador | Evaluation Digest | Scoop.it
This report by Hidrobo et al. provides evidence on whether cash, vouchers or food transfers targeted at women to reduce food insecurity also affects intimate partner violence in northern Ecuador. The study finds that transfers did reduce controlling behaviour among men and any physical or sexual violence by 6-7 percentage points. The findings suggest that reductions in IPV are due to a combination of improvement in women’s bargaining power and a decrease in poverty-related conflict.
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A triple win? The impact of Tanzania’s Joint Forest Management programme on livelihoods, governance and forests.

3ie Impact Evaluation Report 34

This study by Persha and Meshack assesses the impact of Tanzania’s Joint Forest Management (JFM) programme on three sets of outcomes -- restoring forests, improving livelihoods and strengthening local governance. Researchers found that JFM had a strong positive impact on local governance. There were no significant impacts on livelihoods or change in the deforestation rate. But there are weak indications of improvements in subsistence forest product harvesting. There is also some evidence that households may be changing their harvesting behaviour in JFM reserves due to stricter protection and more effective patrols.
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The top 10 sources of data for international development research

The top 10 sources of data for international development research | Evaluation Digest | Scoop.it
Where should you go if you want reliable, detailed data on fragile states, land grabs or trade deals?
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What’s so hard about improving access to water and sanitation? (English) | The World Bank

What’s so hard about improving access to water and sanitation? (English)
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Leaving women out of development statistics just doesn't add up | Mayra Buvinic and Ruth Levine

Leaving women out of development statistics just doesn't add up | Mayra Buvinic and Ruth Levine | Evaluation Digest | Scoop.it
The information we rely on to make policy fails to reflect the reality of the lives of women and girls
DfID Evaluation Department's insight:
Why women need to be included in development stats.
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“Must read” blog posts on evaluation

“Must read” blog posts on evaluation | Evaluation Digest | Scoop.it
These represent just a smattering of my favorites among the many wonderfully educative blog posts on evaluation concepts. *NOTE: Be sure to read the comments on these posts. Some have stimulated interesting discussions and debates among readers and authors. On program theory / theory of change / logic models: Using a Theory of Change to…
DfID Evaluation Department's insight:
A staple evaluation on-line reference. Hasn't changed much recently but worth a check to see what is out there.
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Learning: Four Reasons Why It Should Matter to You and Organizational Leaders

Learning: Four Reasons Why It Should Matter to You and Organizational Leaders | Evaluation Digest | Scoop.it
As our name implies, we here at LEARN love learning. But why does it really matter? We ask ourselves that question continuously and have found, in asking others as well, there are four key arguments worth sharing:
DfID Evaluation Department's insight:
USAID blog on why learning matters.
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Impact Evaluation: How the Wonkiest Subject in the World Got Traction

Impact Evaluation: How the Wonkiest Subject in the World Got Traction | Evaluation Digest | Scoop.it
“3ie has made my job much easier.” This is what we heard last month from a high-ranking government official in Africa, referring to the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), and it made us very proud. Creating 3ie was the outcome of the Evaluation Gap Working Group that we led along with Nancy Birdsall to address the limited number of rigorous impact evaluation of public policies in developing countries. As CGD celebrates its 15th year, it is worth considering what made that working group so successful, the obstacles we confronted, and the work that still remains to be done.
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Guest post: Louise Shaxson on advising governments… and ugly babies

Guest post: Louise Shaxson on advising governments… and ugly babies | Evaluation Digest | Scoop.it
I have known Louise Shaxson for many years and have always valued her advice and insight. However, when she wrote to me recently to tell me that she had written a blog about how to talk to new parents about their ugly babies... I was seriously concerned that we might be heading for a fall-out. Turns out I…
DfID Evaluation Department's insight:
Nice blog post on how to break the bad news to someone (a DFID staffer perhaps) who thinks everything works just fine thank you very much.
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