Insufficient evidence? The quality and use of evidence in humanitarian action

21 February 2014 14:30 - 16:30 GMT+00
Public event
Streamed live online


Paul Knox-Clarke - Head of Research and Communications, ALNAP


Dr John Seaman - Director of Research, Evidence for Development

Dr Joanna Macrae - Humanitarian Head of Profession and Senior Research Advisor, DFID


John Mitchell - Director, ALNAP


The collection, analysis and use of evidence is vital for effective humanitarian action, and a central concern of early warning, needs assessment, programme design, monitoring and evaluation. Humanitarians rely on a  variety of types of evidence to say whether international assistance is required, where and in what quantities. Evidence of ‘what works’ should also inform the design of the response, and allocation of resources in future responses.

But how good is the evidence collected by humanitarian actors? And to what degree does evidence actually inform humanitarian decisions? Drawing on an extensive review of published and ‘grey’ literature, interviews with key informants, and the experiences and learning shared by ALNAP Members at the 28th ALNAP Annual Meeting, ALNAP’s latest study sets out to answer these questions. It considers the types of evidence used in humanitarian response, the constraints to collecting evidence in emergencies, and some criteria for assessing the quality of evidence. It asks how well the evidence currently generated in the sector meets these criteria, and to what degree evidence informs decision-making. Finally, it makes concrete recommendations to enable humanitarian actors to improve the quality and the use of evidence.