Learners, practitioners and teachers Handbook on monitoring, evaluating and managing knowledge for policy inluence

Authors: Vanesa Weyrauch, Julia D´Agostino, Clara Richards
Date Published: 11 February 2011 By CIPPEC. Available as pdf

Description: The evidence based policy influence is a topic of growing interest to researchers, social organizations, experts, government officials, policy research institutes and universities. However, they all admit that the path from the production of a piece or body of research until a public policy is sinuous, fuzzy, forked. In this context, it is not surprising that the practice of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of the policy influence in Latin America is limited. And, indeed, a limited development of knowledge management (KM) on the experiences of advocacy organizations in the region is also observed. Incorporate monitoring, evaluating, and managing of knowledge between the daily practices of policy research institutes is well worth it. On the one hand, the use of these tools can be a smart strategy to enhance the impact of their research in public policy. On the other hand, can help them strengthen their reputation and visibility attracting more and better support by donors. In turn, the design of a system of M&E and the beginning of a KM culture, if approached with a genuine interest in learning, can become a valuable knowledge that bridges motivation for members of the organization. In short, these practices can improve targeting activities, better decide where and how to invest resources, and formulate more realistic and accurate strategic plans. With the publication of this handbook CIPPEC aims to support organizations that can monitor and evaluate their interventions and to develop systematic strategies for knowledge management. It includes stories of previous experiences in these fields in the region of Latin America, reflections on the most common challenges and opportunities and concrete working tools. These contributions aim to pave the way for the influence of public policy research in the region.

Does Research Reduce Poverty? Assessing the welfare impact of policy-orientated research in agriculture

ALINe publication: Sumner, A., Masset, E. and Mulmi, R. (2010) IDS Practice Paper, under review. Available online


In the current context of the global financial crisis and its aftermath, development resources are likely to be getting scarcer. Resources for development research are too. The set of circumstances generating the resource scarcity is also putting pressure on development gains. More than ever before, every dollar spent on development will have to count towards sustainable poverty reduction as will every dollar spent on development research. However, understanding the impacts of development research on policy change and on poverty is weak at best, with agriculture being no different.

The area of research impact is not a new area of enquiry but an emergent one. Our paper seeks to build on the work of others, notably, IFPRI, CGIAR, IDRC, ODI RAPID, GDN, NR International and ECDPM. In our paper we survey the literature and identify different ways of assessing the impact of ‘policy-oriented’ research. We then take the available literature on agriculture as a specific focus to survey.

Our paper surveys the different types of ‘policy-oriented’ research; the literature on the ‘theories of change’ for policy research in international development; methodologies for analysing the impact of policy-oriented research; the relevant agriculture literature and outlines the types indicators that can be used for impact assessment of research with examples.

The key findings are:

  • There is no standard practice for the evaluation of research projects and every evaluation strategy should be designed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Provided we are willing to accept some assumptions, it is possible to test research project impacts along some dimensions of social welfare (agricultural output, income or poverty) by finding the appropriate indicators (and methodology). The overall goal – welfare impacts of research – is highly desirable but not always feasible (especially so due to time-lags).
  • When a welfare assessment of research projects is not feasible, it is recommended that evaluators test intermediate project outcomes. The articulation of the theory of change of the project allows testing critical links in the causal chain running from research to welfare.

Launch of online database of research accountability tools

Announcement: 7 September: launch of online database of research accountability tools

The One World Trust, with support from the IDRC, has created an interactive, online database of tools to help organisations conducting policy relevant research become more accountable.

Processes of innovation and research are fundamental to improvements in quality of life and to creating a better society. But to realise these benefits, the quality of research alone is not enough. Organisations engaged in policy-relevant research and innovation must continually take into account and balance the needs of a diverse set of stakeholders: from the intended research users, to their clients and donors, to the research community and the research participants.  Responsiveness to all of these is crucial if they are to be legitimate and effective. In this, accountable processes are as important as high quality research products.

The Trust has built the online accountability database to support researchers, campaigners and research managers to think through the way they use evidence to influence policy in an accountable way. The database takes into account that research organisations are increasingly diverse – they are no longer just  universities, but private companies, public institutes and non-profit think-tanks. No single framework can encompass this diversity.

Instead, the database provides an inventory of over two hundred tools, standards and processes within a broad, overarching accountability framework. With a dynamic interface and several search functions, it allows users to identify aspects of accountability that interests them, and provides ideas to improve their accountability in this context. Each tool is supported by sources and further reading.

We also encourage engagement with and discussion on the database content, through allowing users to comment on individual tools, or to submit their own tools, processes and standards for inclusion.

The database is an output of a three-year project, titled “Accountability Principles for Research Organisations.” Working with partners across the globe, the project has generated an accountability framework which is sufficiently flexible to apply to many contexts and different organisations.

The database will be available online from the 7 September.

For more information about the project please feel free to contact us at bwhitty@oneworldtrust.org. For the database, please visit www.oneworldtrust.org/apro

“Impact 2.0: Collaborative technologies connecting research and policy”

“Impact 2.0: Collaborative technologies connecting research and policy” is a two-year research project that seeks to develop a body of knowledge about the use of Web 2.0 in policy-oriented research and design in Latin America and to identify, document and promote good practices and emerging opportunities related to the use of collaborative technologies for linking research to policy.

In order to achieve this goal Impact 2.0 has two components. The first involves three pilot projects that seek to combine to combine current theory on the relationship between research, policy and advocacy with advances in Web 2.0/Social networking technologies and practices. The second is a fund to support research into the use of Web 2.0 tools and behaviours to link research and policy.

The research fund will consider two types of proposals: Type 1 projects will involve both implementing a specific intervention using Web 2.0 to link policy and analyzing, documentating and evaluating the intervention while Type 2 projects will document and evaluate one or more current or recent projects making use of Web 2.0 to link policy and research. A maximum of US$15,000 is available for Type 1 projects and US$7,500 for Type 2.

Independent researchers and organisations (universities, government agencies, NGOs, research centres) are invited to apply. Applicants must reside in Latin America and the projects to be performed and analyzed must also be located in and relevant to the region.

Full details are available in the attached CFPs or in Spanish at http://impacto2.comunica.org and in English at http://impacto2.comunica.org/?page_id=23

Impacto 2.0 is a project of Fundaci�n Comunica, with the financial support of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the participation of APC, DIRSI, PRODIC of the University of the Republic of Uruguay and CIESPAL.

| Bruce Girard | www.comunica.org |
| tel: +598 2 410.2979 | mobile: +598 99 189.652 |
| Dr. Pablo de Mar�a 1036 | Montevideo, Uruguay |

Research Integration Using Dialogue Methods

David McDonald, Gabriele Bammer, Peter Deane, 2009 Download pdf

Ed: Although about “research integration”  the book is also very relevant to the planning and evaluation of development projects

“Research on real-world problems—like restoration of wetlands, the needs of the elderly, effective disaster response and the future of the airline industry—requires expert knowledge from a range of disciplines, as well as from stakeholders affected by the problem and those in a position to do something about it. This book charts new territory in taking a systematic approach to research integration using dialogue methods to bring together multiple perspectives. It links specific dialogue methods to particular research integration tasks.

Fourteen dialogue methods for research integration are classified into two groups:

1. Dialogue methods for understanding a problem broadly: integrating judgements

2. Dialogue methods for understanding particular aspects of a problem: integrating visions, world views, interests and values.

The methods are illustrated by case studies from four research areas: the environment, public health, security and technological innovation.”

International Summer School on Evaluation Research

Date: 30 August to 3 September 2010
Venue: Lille, France

Call for papers – Deadline: 7 May 2010

The Network of Researchers on Evaluation of the French Evaluation Society (Société Française de l’Evaluation) has the pleasure of:

This Summer School is intended to be an ideal opportunity for those in the scientific community interested in public policy evaluation to compare scientific work on the subject and to discuss the interdisciplinary nature of evaluation research. Continue reading “International Summer School on Evaluation Research”

Invitation to submit research accountability tools and systems for online database

Dear colleagues

I’m writing to ask you to submit any tools you know of, or have developed, which you think could help build the accountability of research organisations. These will be entered into a publicly available online database.   The One World Trust has been working with our partners to formulate an accountability framework for organisations conducting research (whether civil society, universities, private or public sector). The database will make available tools which will help research managers reflect on and improve the accountability of the programs they manage .   Specifically, we are looking for descriptions and accounts of innovative tools and processes which fall within the following broad areas:

  • Tools suitable for the monitoring and evaluation of research and advocacy;
  • Tools for participatory planning of research;
  • Tools to assist organisational learning and change;
  • Good practices and policies of transparency in research;
  • Good practices for working accountably in partnerships and networks;
  • Community engagement strategies with research participants;
  • Tools to ensure you ‘close the loop’ and manage feedback from your research participants;
  • Examples of where organisations conducting research have integrated external stakeholders into governance structures; and
  • Ethics standards for participatory and applied research.

Ideally, the description would take the form of a document or case study.   For those interested in submitting a tool, please get in contact with the One World Trust team at apro@oneworldtrust.org. For more information on the project, please visit our website. All relevant tools will be included in the database, which we propose to put online and publicly available by August 2010. If we think the tool is not relevant, we do promise to get back to you and explain why!   Thanks very much for your time,   Brendan.

Brendan Whitty
Principal Researcher
One World Trust
3 Whitehall Court, London, SW1A 2EL, UK
> Now Available!  The APRO toolkit provides guidelines outlining accountability principles for research organisations.
Tel +44 (0)20 7766 3463
Charity No. 210180

Are Metrics Blinding Our Perception?

(from New York Times, found by Aldo Benini)


CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts — The Trixie Telemetry company believes in hard, quantifiable truths. It believes that there is a right time and wrong time to breast-feed a baby. It believes that certain hours and rooms are better for a child’s naps than others and that data can establish this, too. It believes that parents should track how long their infants have gone without soiling a diaper and devote themselves to beating this “high score.”

To these ends, the company sells what is a coveted service in this age: a dashboard. It invites you to enter data on your baby’s life, and it produces color-coded charts, Sleep Probability Distributions, digestive analysis and such, to help parents make data-based decisions.

Don’t laugh, because Trixie Telemetry is made from the essence of our age… >read the rest of the article on the NYT website here<

3ie will award up to $10 million in research grants to improve development effectiveness

Open Window Round 2 – Deadline: 27 November 2009

To enhance development effectiveness and ultimately improve people’s lives in developing countries, the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) has launched a request for proposals (RFP) for quality impact evaluations. This RFP is the second round under 3ie’s Open Window, which accepts proposals for the impact evaluation of social and economic development interventions in low and middle income countries in any sector. 3ie will award up to US$10 million in grants under this round.

Preference will be given to proposals which:

  • evaluate large scale programs that affect many lives,
  • are done in partnership with an agency implementing the development intervention to be evaluated, and
  • involve developing country researchers and/or evaluators in the investigation.

Examples of studies funded under the first Open Window include:

  • the use of mobile phones to help monitor patients’ compliance to Tuberculosis treatment in Karachi;
  • the distribution of cooking oil to compensate for dowry to delay adolescent marriage in remote parts of Bangladesh;
  • early childhood development centres in Mozambique;
  • a community driven development pilot in post-conflict Sierra Leone; and upgrading of slum-houses in Peru.


Read more on detailed guidelines and how to apply at: www.3ieimpact.org/openwindow
Any queries regarding this RFP should be sent to: Arun Virk, Programme Officer at proposals@3ieimpact.org

The International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) works to improve the lives of people in the developing world by supporting the production and use of evidence on what works, when, why and for how much. 3ie is a new initiative that responds to demands for better evidence, and will enhance development effectiveness by promoting better informed policies. 3ie finances high-quality impact evaluations and campaign to inform better program and policy design in developing countries.

Accountability Principles for Research Organisations

A report by Brendan Whitty,  One World Trust, 2009?

This report

  • develops a framework for analysing accountability from a normative and instrumental perspective
  • allows think-tanks and research institutes to identify and balance their stakeholders;
  • presents guidelines to assist the practical implementation of accountability principles

The versions available

Continue reading “Accountability Principles for Research Organisations”

%d bloggers like this: