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

Peter O'Flynn

PLEASE DO NOT SHARE THIS BLOG VIA TWITTER! – Read on to find out why. 

July 2016
Chris Barnett

Earlier this month, I was at 3ie’s Evidence Week 2016, and on a panel discussing ethics in evaluation alongside Heather Lanthorn (IDInsights) and Penny Hawkins (UK Department for International Development).

April 2016
Richard Longhurst, Peter Wichmand, Burt Perrin

The term 'evaluability assessment (EA)' is hardly one to start the mind racing and the heart beating. And if 'institutionalising within monitoring and evaluation frameworks’ is added, readers’ eyes probably glaze over very quickly.  This all sounds like yet more jargon brewed up by the evaluation profession. But the newly published CDI Practice Paper entitled ‘Building Evaluability Assessments into Institutional Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Frameworks’ fits in nicely with the developing work on assessing ‘complexity in practice’.

March 2016
Keetie Roelen

In one of the most popular TED talks, Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie argues that ‘The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story’. Although this comment is grounded in stories told in literature, the quote is equally relevant for researchers collecting and analysing data.

March 2016
Irene Guijt, Adinda van Hemelrijck

A narrow definition of rigour has long stood as the unchallenged principal standard that impact evaluation had to fulfil. Yet this standard alone has hindered the ability of evaluation to deal with complexity and to benefit from stakeholder engagement. Other standards, notably inclusiveness and feasibility, have stepped forth as important to increase the utility of impact evaluation.

February 2016
Katharina Welle

There are quite a few ‘new kids on the block’ of impact evaluation designs and methods in Elliot Stern’s Impact Evaluation guide for Commissioners and Managers.  One of them is qualitative comparative analysis (QCA), a research method that was originally developed in the 1980s in the political sciences and sociology to carry out complex comparisons between different countries or societies.

January 2016
Jessica Rust-Smith

On November 4th and 5th I attended the conference ‘State of the Art Realist Methodologies’ in Leeds, hosted by the University of Leeds. Below are some of the highlights for me:

November 2015
Chris Barnett

In this third part of our blog series on ‘hot debates in impact evaluation’, we set out a number of areas in which we have ambitions to further our work at the Centre for Development Impact (CDI). These are areas that chime with broader debates, but we have yet to do significant research on. Here goes…

September 2015
Chris Barnett

In this blog, the second in our series on ‘hot debates in impact evaluation’, we focus on innovation and learning around impact methodology. For over a decade, the focus of ‘evaluating impact’ has had strong advocates of a narrow set of quasi- and experimental methods – and yet, such methods are not appropriate for all situations, and social science offers many other robust ways of assessing causality and change. At CDI we are interested in innovating and learning from a range of designs and methods in order to appropriately evaluate impact. For us, innovation could be emergent methods, but it could just as easily be applying established methods in new fields, new sectors, and new locations.

July 2015
Chris Barnett

In the first of a series of three blogs, we share a unique insight into the debates currently being explored by the Centre for Development Impact. CDI was setup to innovate and share learning around the understanding and measurement of impact – particularly impact on the poorest and most marginalised. For over a decade ‘impact evaluation’ has been dominated by rather narrow debates on methodology and hierarchies of evidence. CDI was established to broaden the debate; to link academics and evaluators in the pursuit of evaluation that better contributes to transformational change (longer-term impact); including the measurement and understanding of impact that is more suited to our pressing global challenges; and in doing so, to play its part in our post-2015 endeavour to 're-think economic growth’ in terms of what it means for sustainability, equity and inclusiveness.

July 2015