Experimental approaches

Experimental and quasi-experimental approaches (including randomised control trials, and behavioural experiments) have received widespread attention in international development in recent years. While they offer a robust approach to answering certain ‘impact questions’, they are not always the most appropriate methodology for all interventions in all settings. Plus, while the focus is very much on the ‘net effect’ assessment of impact and counterfactual conceptions of causality, such methodologies often need to be combined with other approaches to yield rich explanations of impact. While others focus on the promotion of experimental and quasi-experimental methods, CDI is interested in learning and innovation around mixing method designs, including hybrid and nested evaluation designs – some of which may include experimental approaches.

The focus of CDI’s work is on:

  • Exploring the potential and limits of experimental approaches, especially in new fields
  • Developing our understanding around mixing methods, and different hybrid and nested designs