All CDI blog posts are written by members of the CDI team or those working on projects in connection with CDI who can offer a personal analysis of development impact research and practice. The views expressed in these blogs may not represent those of CDI. Please do join the debate by 'commenting' on our blogs. You can also join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtags #cdimpact and #impact eval. 

Blog Posts

Jeremy Holland

I once edited a book on combining methods and data to get the best of all worlds in applied research  (https://www.developmentbookshelf.com/doi/book/10.3362/9781780440286). In the book, David Booth wrote a chapter entitled ‘strong fences make good neighbours’ which advocated for a clear demarcation between ‘acontextual’ survey-based data collection and ‘contextual’ in-depth interpretive research. Weakening that fence was asking for trouble, he argued. I saw his point then and still see it now.

August 2018
Giel Ton

My work with CDI is to help the evaluation of development impact. This implies research to detect outcomes that change in response to a project or a programme, and explore the conditions that contributed to the realisation of these effects. However, these projects and programmes are always context-dependent. Each impact study, or for this blog post, ‘effectiveness’ study, has specific characteristics that make their impact ‘unique’, which limits the usefulness of their findings to the outside world – the so-called ‘external validity’.

February 2018
Peter O'Flynn

The purpose of our research into smallholder supply chains is to increase the evidence base on the information collected and used by companies and investors who invest in them. We define smallholders as small-scale farmers, pastoralists, forest keepers and fishers who manage and operate areas between one and ten hectares (FAO, 2013). In November 2017, I worked with firms in both Malawi and Kenya (while a colleague did the same in Ethiopia) to find out: 

December 2017
Giel Ton

In July 2017, I joined IDS as the new director of the Centre for Development Impact. I look forward to developing CDI further as a platform and safe-space for innovation in impact evaluation.

October 2017
Chris Barnett

It is exciting times for CDI as I hand over the Directorship to Dr Giel Ton, Fellow at IDS, and Deputy Director, Dr Rachel Eager at Itad (find out what Giel is looking forward to working on as the new Director). The past few years have seen CDI spearhead some fascinating debates and I am sure it will go on from strength to strength. It is very hard to choose just three personal highlights, but here goes...!

October 2017
Rachel Eager

CDI started the new year with a bang, launching our inaugural ‘Designing effective ways to evaluate impact’ short course at IDS, led by CDI director Chris Barnett and IDS visiting fellow Rob D. van den Berg.

February 2017
Chris Barnett

What role will evaluation play in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development? A recent event at Wilton Park, convened in collaboration with CDI, explored how evaluation should track the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Over the course of the event, Chris Barnett came to four realisations.

February 2017
Peter O'Flynn

September and October were very busy months in terms of CDI operations! We went on a couple of trips – to Sweden and Ghana – which have helped us in developing our thinking and learning on social impact.

November 2016
Chris Barnett

Those of us who undertake evaluations know what if feels like to be in a contested space, sometimes all too painfully! There are funders who push back on findings, project staff who want conclusions to appear less severe, or competing perspectives from different review groups and committees. If handled well – and with adequate protection of the evaluator’s independence – this contestation and deliberation can be a valuable process for improving quality.

November 2016
Peter O'Flynn

CDI’s network has been growing fast. Last month we conducted our first ever survey of the 3,500 email subscribers in our community (from 9th to 22nd August) – a huge thank you to all those who participated.

September 2016