Between 2012 and 2016, the project will develop, test and seek to institutionalise flexible, affordable approaches to impact evaluation (IE). Cases will be chosen that are harder to evaluate due to the complexity of their context or diversity of intervention variables. The Methods Lab approach combines a hands on ‘learning-by-doing’ style with commissioning and implementing agencies, mixed methods for collection and analysis, providing guidance to ensure rigorous thought, sharing experiences via an international platform (Better Evaluation) and institutionalising processes and best practices. The case focus and Methods Lab approach, while focusing on DFAT and its programmes, will ensure that results will have wide applicability.
Methods Lab support to case studies
Methods Lab’s provides two types of support to projects selected to be case studies:
1) Design and full implementation of impact evaluation studies;
2) Design/framing of IEs and support for design/adaptation of M&E systems compatible with the IE design
Results will include examples of M&E designs and impact evaluation studies, as well as a wide range of guidance notes. These guidance notes are being produced to ensure consistent, high quality choices underpin all the cases. Guidance notes are being produced on, for example, evaluability assessment for impact evaluation, gender and impact evaluation, and realist evaluation for impact evaluation.
We are currently working with the following programmes, but more programmes may join as the Methods Lab proceeds.
Full impact evaluations:
· PNG, Government of PNG Tuition Free Education
· Indonesia, Poverty Reduction Support Facility (PRSF)
· Pacific, portfolio of investments on infrastructure (with NZMFAT)
M&E for IE design support:
· Nepal, Micro-Enterprise Development Programme (MEDEP Phase IV)
· Afghanistan, Australia-Afghanistan Community Resilience Scheme (AACRS)
· Mekong, Australian Mekong NGO Platform (AMNEP)
· Fiji, Access to Quality Education Program (AQEP)
The Methods Lab is a collaboration between three parties: DFAT, ODI and BetterEvaluation.
ODI is the lead partner, manages the operations of the Methods Lab and the relationships with the other partners, and helps to embed the results within DFAT.
BetterEvaluation (http://betterevaluation.org/) will manage the Methods Lab’s external face with the dual aim of advising, and where possible developing, promising approaches through its extensive network and documenting and sharing the learning from the Methods Lab across Australian aid program and with the wider development evaluation community.
Different parts of DFAT will be involved in all stages of the Methods Lab to help frame the key questions, to contribute in designing the most appropriate impact evaluations, and to ensure that the lessons learned can be institutionalised across the agency.
For more information, please contact Tiina Pasanen.