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

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
Barbara Befani
Barbara Befani discusses the notion that the fixation with using experimental methods to evaluate development effectiveness might be coming to an end, highlighting some of the challenges being faced and the alternatives that are emerging.
March 2015
Chris Barnett

Reflections from Chris Barnett on the recent and fascinating CDI event on the role of ethics in impact evaluation. 

March 2014
Rob D. van den Berg

Rob D. van den Berg reflects on a recent workshop on Realist Evaluation organised by the Centre for Development Impact. 

March 2014