The Methods Lab: improving practice for impact evaluation in DFAT

April 2012 to November 2015

The Methods Lab seeks to develop, test and institutionalise flexible approaches to impact evaluation. It focuses on interventions which are harder to evaluate because of their diversity and complexity, or where traditional impact evaluation approaches may not be feasible.

The Methods Lab is an action learning collaboration between the ODI, BetterEvaluation and the Australian Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade. We aim to identify lessons and tools from current programmes, with wider application potential.

To date, we have worked with the following development programmes: Indonesia, Poverty Reduction Support Facility (PRSF); Pacific, portfolio of infrastructure investments (with NZMFAT); Nepal, Micro-Enterprise Development Programme (MEDEP); Afghanistan, Australia-Afghanistan Community Resilience Scheme (AACRS); and Australian Mekong NGO Platform (AMNEP).

In addition, we are learning about the application of different evaluation approaches through embedded work with, among others: Pathways to Resilience in Semi-arid Economies (PRISE); Youth Forward Learning Partnership; and Knowledge Sector Initiative (KSI).

The Methods Lab evaluation toolkit brings together our analysis, guidance and templates.

For more information contact Tiina Pasanen.


What is impact?

Working and discussion papers | February 2016 | Simon Hearn and Anne Buffardi
How 'impact' is defined and used has a significant effect on the design, management and evaluation of development programmes.

Addressing gender in impact evaluation: what should be considered?

Working and discussion papers | November 2015 | Author: Gillian Fletcher. Reviewers: Anne Buffardi; Annemarie Reerink; Greet Peersman; Irene Guijt; Patricia Rogers; Sally Moyle; Simon Hearn; Tiina Pasanen
What does ‘addressing gender’ mean for development interventions – and how can we assess gender-related impact?

Beyond methods: unpacking evaluation challenges

Public event | 13 October 2015 16:30 - 18:00 GMT+01 (BST)
​Most debates around evaluation focus on methods; this event will go beyond this to explore the political and working challenges of doing evaluation in difficult development settings.

Template concept note for an impact evaluation

Toolkits | January 2015 | Irene Guijt, Simon Hearn, Tiina Pasanen
Writing a concept note is the first step to planning a good impact evaluation. This tool provides a template concept note outline for planning an impact evaluation.

Realist impact evaluation: an introduction

Working and discussion papers | September 2014 | Gill Westhorp
Realist impact evaluation is an approach to impact evaluation that emphasises the importance of context for programme outcomes. This introduction will help evaluators and commissioners of evaluations to decide whether a realist approach is appropriate for evaluating...