Centre for Development Impact

The Centre for Development Impact (CDI) contributes to learning and innovation in the field of impact evaluation, through the use of appropriate, mixed method, and robust evaluation designs. It is a joint initiative between IDS, ITAD and the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Mobile health team visiting rural communities, South Africa. Credit: Giacomo Pirozzi / Panos

Debates around impact evaluation have received renewed interest in recent years. Alongside a growing pressure on politicians and policymakers to demonstrate results and value for money, conventional evaluation approaches are being critiqued for lacking in rigour, and/or being too narrowly focused and unable to capture complexity. CDI's work will help to broaden the range of evaluation designs and methods, providing funders and evaluators alike with valuable insights and tools to measure and understand impact.

Our current focus is on:

  • Exploring a wide range of evaluation designs and methods, including complexity theory, systems thinking and different approaches to causal inference, in order to understand what works, for whom, why, and in what context.
  • Designing appropriate methodologies for evaluating complex interventions in challenging contexts, such as: interventions in emergent, dynamic and uncertain situations (such as conflict), those that are multi-sectoral in nature (like nutrition or empowerment), and those not readily amenable to counterfactual construction (such as value chains).
  • Better understanding the realities of the evaluation process, such as when evaluations are conducted under severe resource (or other) constraints, the politics of evaluation, and the use of evidence.

We achieve this through:

  1. Doing evaluations that provide scope for innovation in a particular domain;
  2. Doing research on evaluations, including meta-research and meta-evaluations; and,
  3. Developing and delivering training and learning programmes.

CDI is a joint initiative between IDS, ITAD and the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Visit our dedicated website to find out more: www.cdimpact.org

Members from ITAD

Members from UEA

Independent Impact Evaluation Agent (IIEA) for Tilitonse, Malawi

This Independent Impact Evaluation aims to measure the impact of Tilitonse, formerly the Civil Society Governance Fund, in Malawi. It is a challenging area for impact evaluation as the anticipated 'impacts' are likely to require a shift in power relations, and are likely to be transformative over a longer period of time. More details

Increasing Transparency in Smallholder Supply Chains: Comparing Approaches to Monitoring Performance of Investments and Private Sector Participation

For this DfID-funded project, we will be providing a synthesis of the types of monitoring, evaluation and data being used by investors and the private sector in agricultural supply chains in a developing country context. More details

View all Research Centre's publications

Use this search to display this centre's publications and filter by journal, theme, country and much more.


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MillenniumVillages_FouthRound_Cover

Northern Ghana Millennium Villages Impact Evaluation: Preliminary Report on the Fourth Round of Data

Report (2017)

The Millennium Villages Project (MVP) has been designed to demonstrate how an integrated approach to community-led development can translate the international Millennium Development Goals into results. The project in northern Ghana is one of several projects instigated over the past 10 years, which together are set to reach nearly half a million people across 10 countries in Africa. More details

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Evaluation and Impact Investing: A Review of Methodologies to Assess Social Impact

IDS Evidence Report 222 (2017)

This report highlights the paradox within impact investing: the prioritisation of ‘social impact’ without prioritising ‘impact evidence’. The growth of metrics, ratings and certification-based approaches has sought to address this gap but this only goes so far, and there is a need for a more evaluative approach to assessing impact. More details

ER213_FrontCover

Gauging Demand for Evidence and Accountability in Impact Investing by using Twitter Social Network Analysis: A Methodology

IDS Evidence Report 213 (2016)

This report explains the methodology used to analyse the demand for evidence and accountability within the impact investment market. Social network analysis, qualitative interviews and ego network analysis were used to explore actors within this market (or system), drawing on data from Twitter to consider connections, influence and conversations about social impact. More details

This is the cover to 'Millennium Villages Evaluation: Midterm Summary Report'.

Millennium Villages Evaluation: Midterm Summary Report

This study is one of three making up the qualitative part of an independent evaluation of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) Millennium Villages Project (MVP) (2012–17). More details

PB126_FrontCover

Towards Greater Effectiveness and Accountability in Impact Investing

IDS Policy Briefing 126 (2016)

Impact investing – investing for social and environmental returns alongside financial returns – is a growing phenomenon in financial markets. However, concerns exist regarding the demand for robust impact evidence and accountability for impact claims when compared to a public sector aid model. More details

ER199_FrontCover

Inclusion, Ethics and Evaluation: Panel Discussion

IDS Evidence Report 199 (2016)

This panel discussion is supported by the Institute of Development Studies' Department for International Development Accountable Grant, with a view to continue a dialogue around the use and application of ethics in impact evaluation. More details

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Reflections from a Realist Evaluation in Progress: Scaling Ladders and Stitching Theory

CDI Practice Paper 18 (2016)

Realist evaluation provides valuable insights into how and why programmes lead to change, and can generate transferable lessons to help practitioners roll out or scale up an intervention. However, as yet there are few standards and guidelines governing what counts as a ‘good’ realist evaluation. More details

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Building Evaluability Assessments into Institutional Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Frameworks

CDI Practice Paper 17 (2016)

This CDI Practice Paper by Richard Longhurst, Peter Wichmand and Burt Perrin discusses how evaluability assessments (EAs) can support the choice of evaluation approaches for determining impact, drawing on recent experiences of the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour of the International Labour Office. More details

CDIPracticePaper17_FrontCover

Building Evaluability Assessments into Institutional Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Frameworks

CDI Practice Paper 17 (2016)

This CDI Practice Paper by Richard Longhurst, Peter Wichmand and Burt Perrin discusses how evaluability assessments (EAs) can support the choice of evaluation approaches for determining impact, drawing on recent experiences of the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour of the International Labour Office. More details

CDIPracticePaper_16

Using Participatory Statistics to Examine the Impact of Interventions to Eradicate Slavery: Lessons from the Field

CDI Practice Paper 16 (2016)

This CDI Practice Paper reflects on the use of participatory statistics to assess the impact of interventions to eradicate slavery and bonded labour. More details

CDIPracticePaper_15

Bridging the Gap: Synthesising Evidence from Secondary Quantitative and Primary Qualitative Data

CDI Practice Paper 15 (2016)

There is widespread recognition that mixed-methods approaches are a ‘platinum standard’ in research and evaluation and that the expanding availability of secondary quantitative data creates unprecedented opportunities for studying poverty and evaluating poverty reduction programmes. More details

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Balancing Inclusiveness, Rigour and Feasibility: Insights from Participatory Impact Evaluations in Ghana and Vietnam

CDI Practice Paper 14 (2016)

This paper by Adinda Van Hemelrijck and Irene Guijt explores how impact evaluation can live up to standards broader than statistical rigour in ways that address challenges of complexity and enable stakeholders to engage meaningfully. More details

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Qualitative Comparative Analysis: A Valuable Approach to Add to the Evaluator’s ‘Toolbox’? Lessons from Recent Applications

CDI Practice Paper 13 (2016)

A heightened focus on demonstrating development results has increased the stakes for evaluating impact (Stern 2015), while the more complex objectives and designs of international aid programmes make it ever more challenging to attribute effects to a particular intervention (Befani, Barnett and Stern 2014). More details

ER164_FrontCover

Annotated Bibliography – Evaluating Impact Investing

IDS Evidence Report 164 (2016)

‘Impact’ in impact investing has been touted as bringing a new dimension to investing, going beyond investment’s traditional ‘risk’ and ‘return’ dimensions, and even becoming a new paradigm in solving society’s problems. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Report: New Frontiers for Evaluation in an Era of Market-Oriented Development: Monday 20–Wednesday 22 July 2015

As part of the International Year of Evaluation 2015, this Wilton Park convened meeting gave evaluation professionals, development partners, and investors an open forum to review recent evaluation experience, debate evaluation governance issues, and probe the methodological questions brought about by the market-based revolution. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Impact Investments: A Literature Review

Centre for Development Impact (2015)

In terms of structure, this summary paper will first discuss findings from a review of documents presenting various methods of evaluating, assessing and/or measuring impact investments. Then, this paper covers literature on the evaluation of impact investments, including social and development impact bonds (SIBs/DIBs); and finally, this paper briefly reviews other modalities of socially-oriented investments. More details

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Straws-in-the-wind, Hoops and Smoking Guns: What can Process Tracing Offer to Impact Evaluation?

CDI Practice Paper 10 (2015)

This CDI Practice Paper by Melanie Punton and Katharina Welle explains the methodological and theoretical foundations of process tracing, and discusses its potential application in international development impact evaluations. More details

This is the front cover to the Northern Ghana Millennium Villages Impact Evaluation Pre-lim.

Northern Ghana Millennium Villages Impact Evaluation: Preliminary Report on the Second Round of Data

Report (2015)

In 2011, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) commissioned an impact evaluation of the Millennium Village Project (MVP) in Northern Ghana. More details

This is the cover to IDS Bulletin 46.1, 'Towards Systemic Approaches to Evaluation and Impact'.

Towards Systemic Approaches to Evaluation and Impact

IDS Bulletin 46.1 (2015)

This IDS Bulletin explores new frontiers in international development evaluation, making a useful contribution to an ongoing debate about how to assess effects and effectiveness without ignoring the complexity of the contemporary development landscape. More details

This is the cover for IDS Bulletin 45.6, 'Rethinking Impact Evaluation for Development'.

Rethinking Impact Evaluation for Development

IDS Bulletin 45.6 (2014)

This IDS Bulletin presents a 'rallying cry' for impact evaluation to rise to the challenges of a post-MDG/post-2015 world. It is the first of two issues that follow a workshop entitled 'Impact, Innovation and Learning: Towards a Research and Practice Agenda for the Future', held at IDS in March 2013. More details

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CDI contributes to learning and innovation in the field of impact evaluation

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