Partner-led evaluation for policy research programmes: a thought piece on the KNOWFOR programme evaluation

Working and discussion papers
January 2018
Tiina Pasanen, Stuart Raetz, John Young and Jess Dart

This paper discusses the strengths, challenges and appropriateness of 'partner-led evaluation', reflecting on the experience of the UK-supported International Forestry Knowledge programme (KNOWFOR).

It explores the three most common questions asked by evaluation commissioners and programme managers considering a partner-led approach: why it might be useful, who does what and is it credible? 

The authors conclude that partner-led evaluations are most appropriate when there is a strong focus on internal learning and capacity-building. The collaborative approach is likely to increase partners' sense of ownership and, in turn, uptake of learning.

However, like self-evaluations, it may be more prone to the biases of assessing one's own work. It is possible to increase impartiality by introducing measures to mitigate the potential biases, and this paper provides recommendations on how to do this.