Quantitative and Qualitative Methods in Impact Evaluation and Measuring Results

Sabine Garbarino and Jeremy Holland, March 2009

Issues paper | Workshop report

There has been a renewed interest in impact evaluation and measuring results in recent years amongst development agencies and donors. This paper reviews the case for promoting and formalising qualitative and combined methods for impact evaluation and measuring results, as part of a broader strategy amongst donors and country partners for tackling the evaluation gap. The accompanying workshop report provides a summary of the January 2009 workshop “Make an Impact: Tackling the “I” and the “D” of Making It Happen”, which aimed to familiarise DFID staff with the use of qualitative methods in impact evaluation and measuring results.

The case for qualitative and combined methods is strong. Qualitative methods have an equal footing in evaluation of development impacts and can generate sophisticated, robust and timely data and analysis. Combining qualitative research with quantitative instruments that have greater breadth of coverage and generalisability can result in better evaluations that make the most of their respective comparative advantages.


Further contributions  to this list are welcome (linked documents, or the documents themselves). Please use the Comment facility below, or email rick at mande.co.uk

PERSPECTIVES ON IMPACT EVALUATION: Approaches to Assessing Development Effectiveness

An International Conference in Africa for policy-makers, program managers, evaluators, sponsors and other stakeholders in evaluation and development

Date: Sunday 29 March – Thursday 2 April 2009
Venue: Semiramis InterContinental Hotel, Cairo, Egypt


How do we know when ‘development’ is truly successful? What can evaluations tell us about which policies, programs and projects work, why, for whom and under what conditions? How can such evaluations best be conducted to help to bring new hope and opportunities to many millions in Africa and beyond?

It gives us great pleasure to invite you to participate in one of the most exciting evaluation events ever held in Africa. The African Evaluation Association (AfrEA), the Network of Networks on Impact Evaluation (NONIE) and the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) have joined forces to bring to Africa some of the best expertise from all continents on one of the most discussed topics among evaluation and development communities worldwide.

For the conference we define impact evaluations as those studies which concern themselves with determining and understanding the short, medium and long term outcomes or impacts of projects, programs and policies. We do not limit the term to any specific methodology in any particular discipline.
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Participatory Impact Assessment: a Guide for Practitioners

The Feinstein International Center has been developing and adapting participatory approaches to measure the impact of livelihoods based interventions since the early nineties. Drawing upon this experience, the guide aims to provide practitioners with a broad framework for carrying out project level Participatory Impact Assessments (PIA) of livelihoods interventions in the humanitarian sector. Other than in some health, nutrition, and water interventions in which indicators of project performance should relate to international standards, for many interventions there are no ‘gold standards’ for measuring project impact. This guide aims to bridge this gap by outlining a tried and tested approach to measuring the impact of livelihoods projects. The tools in the guide have been field tested over the past two years in a major research effort, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and involving five major humanitarian NGOs working across Africa.

Download a PDF copy of the guide here

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