CDI's events programme covers the key issues of impact evaluation in international development.

Our regular CDI Seminar Series invites academics, practitioners, and other experts working on impact evaluation to explore the application of a range of approaches and designs for assessing the impact of complex development and policy interventions. The seminars aim to stimulate debate between theory, methodology and practice, and in doing so, explore new frontiers and cross-disciplinary opportunities to advance the field of impact evaluation. 

CDI events are hosted mainly in the UK at the Institute of Development Studies, Itad and the University of East Anglia. Write-ups and audio recordings of many of the events, along with short interviews with speakers, are available online.

Events

6 September 2021 - 9:00am to 10 September 2021 - 5:00pm
Many development programmes have overlapping activities that are regularly adapted to changes in the context and result from collaboration with multiple partners. Traditional impact evaluation methods that measure differences in baseline and endline outcomes are not well suited to deal with this complexity. Contribution Analysis has emerged as a structured approach that is better able to address these real-world challenges. It consists of a step-wise, iterative process of refining Theory of Change and nested impact pathways. Subsequently, Mixed method research designs are used to verify the most critical and contested assumptions.
3 December 2020 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm
In recent years, international development programmes have increasingly sought to address complex problems, and this has led to growing demand for "complexity-aware" approaches to monitoring and evaluation. One key area of this frontier is the family of approaches known as theory-based evaluation. This webinar will argue that there is a need for combining theory-based methods to improve evaluation practice and shed light on causal mechanisms.
Speaker(s): Tom Aston
23 November 2020 - 12:30pm to 2:00pm
Our world is experiencing global volatility, unprecedented levels of humanitariancrises and vulnerability, coupled with the impacts of climate change, migration,inequalities, and constantly emerging threats to peace and security. Against thisbackdrop, the fallout from a global pandemic has left no country unaffected, with thepotential for a severely negative impact for many in the future - particularly those whoare most vulnerable.
Speaker(s): Peter Taylor
25 March 2020 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm
The international development sector faces many thorny and interconnected global challenges, from climate change and cross-border trade to corruption and violent extremism. This has sparked a growing interest in evaluation approaches that can cope with complexity and generate lessons about how to tackle these kinds of challenges.
Speaker(s): Melanie Punton
21 February 2020 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm
Evaluating what research achieves is always challenging given the diverse pathways for outcomes and related impact.  Therefore, longitudinal research lasting an extended period presents unique and real methodological challenges. This presentation will discuss the application of contribution analysis to a recent evaluation of the Young Lives Research programme, which is the first comparative, longitudinal, mixed-methods study of children in developing countries.
Speaker(s): Alma Agusti Strid, Jonathan France and Richard Longhurst
13 January 2020 - 9:00am to 17 January 2020 - 5:00pm
Many development programmes have overlapping activities that are regularly adapted to changes in the context and result from collaboration with multiple partners. Traditional impact evaluation methods that measure differences in baseline and endline outcomes are not well suited to deal with this complexity. Contribution Analysis has emerged as a structured approach that is better able to address these real-world challenges. It consists of a step-wise, iterative process of refining Theory of Change and nested impact pathways. Subsequently, Mixed method research designs are used to verify the most critical and contested assumptions.
16 September 2019 - 9:00am to 20 September 2019 - 5:00pm
Many development programmes have overlapping activities that are regularly adapted to changes in the context and result from collaboration with multiple partners. Traditional impact evaluation methods that measure differences in baseline and endline outcomes are not well suited to deal with this complexity. Contribution Analysis has emerged as a structured approach that is better able to address these real-world challenges. It consists of a step-wise, iterative process of refining Theory of Change and nested impact pathways. Subsequently, Mixed method research designs are used to verify the most critical and contested assumptions.
23 May 2019 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm
ISEAL, the global membership association for credible sustainability standards, will explain the role of impact evaluation in the institutional architecture of credible certifications (internal control systems, third-party verification, control on control). What type of evidence is needed to make certifications credible, what are ISEAL’s requirements to certification bodies in relation to monitoring and impact evaluation?About the speaker
Speaker(s): Joshua Wickerham
25 April 2019 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm
The seminar will discuss how Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) can be applied as a tool for evaluating policy change and advocacy interventions. Oxfam will present how they used QCA for a meta review of Oxfam’s Good Governance initiatives, and the process of sensemaking and validation of the detected patterns.
Speaker(s): Ruth Mayne, Irene Guijt
3 April 2019 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm
This seminar will reflect on the challenges of synthesizing evidence about effectiveness through systematic reviews. Based on their experiences with meta-analyses of the literature on contract farming and microcredit, the presenters identify ways to conduct and use systematic reviews sensibly. They will further reflect on the next level of systematisation, i.e. the usefulness of conducting systematic reviews of systematic reviews, drawing on recent work on financial inclusion.
Speaker(s): Maren Duvendack and Giel Ton
3 April 2019 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm
In this seminar, the results of a systematic review of systematic reviews will be presented to better understand the impact of a range of financial inclusion interventions on economic, social, gender and behavioural outcomes in low- and middle-income countries. Financial inclusion is a dynamic space with a growing range of intervention types and players. However, the present high-level evidence does not suggest that financial inclusion initiatives have transformative effects or are changing the world. The review finds that the impacts of financial inclusion interventions are small and variable and may be no better than those of comparable alternatives, such as graduation or livelihoods interventions.
Speaker(s): Maren Duvendack, Philip Mader
14 March 2019 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm
China’s size militates against one-size-fits-all solutions, and the government encourages experimentation as part of a change management process that helps manage complexity. Simultaneously, government and researchers have used various strategies to help capture emergent policy solutions that can inform policy making by central and provincial governments. As China’s reforms deepen and become more complex, Chinese research institutions are looking to tools from the development M&E community to help strengthen systemic learning. Equally, as China increases its overseas engagement, including in health, Chinese approaches to change management face new challenges. The presentation draws on recent publications by the authors on the evaluation of China’s domestic health reforms, and on the evaluation of a major UK-China collaboration supporting increased Chinese engagement in global health.
Speaker(s): Lewis Husain

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