© Nyani Quarmyne / Panos Pictures

Specialist short course

COntribution Analysis for Impact Evaluation (online)

Learn how to design your impact evaluations more effectively using a contribution analysis approach.

Many development programmes have overlapping activities that are regularly adapted in collaboration with multiple partners to respond to ongoing changes in the operating environment. Traditional impact evaluation methods that measure differences in baseline and endline outcomes are not well suited to deal with this complexity. Contribution Analysis has emerged as a structured approach that is better able to address these real-world challenges. It consists of a step-wise, iterative process of refining Theory of Change. Mixed method research designs are used to verify the critical and contested assumptions.

You‘ll be introduced to the strengths and weaknesses of several novel methods that can be used within a Contribution Analysis approach to impact evaluation, including methods to explore causal patterns in data sets (Qualitative Comparative Analysis; Explorative Statistics) and qualitative causal inference (Process Tracing, Realist evaluation), and methods to increase learning and empowerment (Participatory Evaluation).

Course aims

To equip individuals and organisations to design impact evaluations more effectively using a contribution analysis framing.

Who should attend?

Experienced independent evaluators; programme implementers; early-stage researchers interested in innovative and mixed research methods; and evaluation commissioners including policy makers.

Previous clients include: Better Cotton Initiative, Gatsby Foundation; Global Affairs Canada; Korea Development Institute; Partnership Resource Centre; Rainforest Alliance; Vaccine Alliance (Gavi); World Agroforestry Centre; and World Food Programme.

How you’ll learn

You will learn through online presentations, live Q&A, independent study, groupwork, and one-to-one sessions.

As you progress through the course, you’ll apply your knowledge incrementally – ending up with a ‘finished’ example of a strong, interlinked mixed-methods research design to verify the theory of change of a project or programme.

The course will take eight hours of your time per week, over five weeks. On average you will be spend five hours a week studying online and around three hours a week reading the accompanying course materials or working on your own evaluation design. Live online sessions will run on Mondays and Wednesdays between 13.00-16.00 UK time.

During the course, you will focus on your own project(s) and impact evaluation challenges. You will work in small groups and we will provide one-to-one support in the last week of the course. You will be assigned a course facilitator that is most closely related to the individual project you will be working on.

Pre-recorded lectures, presentations and reading materials, along with a comprehensive workbook, will be made available in advance. You will be able to maintain dialogue with other participants and course facilitators throughout the course via a dedicated online channel.

This is an online course with participants from all over the world. Whilst we will try to accommodate participants’ needs and adjust to take account of different time zones, it may not be possible to accommodate everyone so some flexibility will be required.

Learning outcomes

At completing this course you will be able to:

  • Understand current debates on impact evaluation methodologies.
  • Develop an evaluation design that responds to the evaluation questions and context.
  • Choose appropriate methods to gather and analyse data to support conclusions about effectiveness.
  • Critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of the various evaluation approaches.
“The course structure was great, with a good mix of group work, theory, and opportunities to apply learning to your own work. The facilitators were approachable and set out a very good environment for learning.”
“The course provided an overarching framework within which to view different impact evaluation methods”.
“Being primarily a quantitative researcher, I now feel more confident in applying qualitative methods.”

Key information

From 19 September 2022 until 31 October 2022

Apply now

Secure your place on this course

Complete the online application form

Key contacts

About this specialist short course

Programmes and centres
Centre for Development Impact

Related content