Centre for Development Impact (CDI) Practice Papers

The CDI Practice Paper series is published by the Centre for Development Impact (CDI), a joint initiative between IDS, ITAD and UEA. The Centre aims to contribute to innovation and excellence in the areas of impact assessment, evaluation and learning in development.

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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


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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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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


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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


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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


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Improving the Practice of Value for Money Assessment

CDI Practice Paper 12 (2015)

This CDI Practice Paper by Julian Barr and Angela Christie brings together recent work at Itad to examine the origins of the concept of value for money (VFM) in the performance audit of public expenditure and its increasing prominence as a tool applied to support the management of publicly funded international development. More details


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Tax Experiments in Developing Countries: A Critical Review and Reflections on Feasibility

CDI Practice Paper 11 (2015)

This CDI Practice Paper by Giulia Mascagni provides a critical assessment of the literature on tax experiments to date. More details


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Improving Quality: Current Evidence on What Affects the Quality of Commissioned Evaluations

CDI Practice Paper 9 (2015)

With the increase in resources that organisations are dedicating to evaluation the issue of evaluation quality has risen up the agenda and a growing number of commissioners are now looking at how to ensure the studies they commission are of sufficient quality. More details


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Assessing Impact in Dynamic and Complex Environments: Systemic Action Research and Participatory Systemic Inquiry

CDI Practice Paper 8 (2014)

This CDI Practice Paper is about the uses of Systemic Action Research (SAR) and Participatory Systemic Inquiry (PSI) for impact assessment (Burns 2006, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013; Wadsworth 2001, 2010). More details


This is the cover to CDI Practice Paper 6, 'Evaluating Outside the Box: Mixing Methods in Analysing Social Protection Programmes'.

Evaluating Outside the Box: Mixing Methods in Analysing Social Protection Programmes

CDI Practice Paper 6 (2014)

This CDI Practice Paper reflects on the methodological implications of operationalising an expanded framework for evaluating social protection programmes. More details


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Multiple Pathways to Policy Impact: Testing an Uptake Theory with QCA

CDI Practice Paper 5 (2013)

This paper by Barbara Befani proposes a theory of 'advocacy uptake' and tests it using two methods: (1) statistical analysis; and (2) Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). More details


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Impact Evaluation when N=1

CDI Practice Paper 4 (2013)

A common presumption holds that when there is only one unit of observation, such as in the case of a national-level policy or a small scale intervention, causality cannot be established and impact evaluation methods do not apply. More details


Image Teaser for CDI Practice Paper 03, 'Implementing Development Evaluations under Severe Resource Constraints' by Richard Longhurst

Implementing Development Evaluations under Severe Resource Constraints

CDI Practice Paper 3 (2013)

Most agency evaluations are very short both on resources and in duration, with no proper opportunity to assess impact in a valid manner. More details


Image for CDI Practice Paper No2 Natural Experiments: An Underappreciated
Evaluation Resource?

Natural Experiments: An Under-appreciated Evaluation Resource?

CDI Practice Paper 2 (2013)

This CDI Practice Paper explores some of the roles that natural experiments have played in evaluation and considers their potential and limitations and the prospects for their wider use. More details


This is the cover for CDI Practice Paper 1, 'Improving the Evaluability of INGO Empowerment and
Accountability Programmes'.

Improving the Evaluability of INGO Empowerment and Accountability Programmes

CDI Practice Paper 1 (2013)

This CDI Practice Paper is based on an analysis of international NGO (INGO) evaluation practice in empowerment and accountability (E&A) programmes. It reviews evaluation debates and their implications for INGOs. More details