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Theory-Based Impact Evaluation

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Author Info

  • White, Howard

    ()
    (International Initiative for Impact Evaluation)

Abstract

Calls for rigorous impact evaluation have been accompanied by the quest not just to find out what works but why. It is widely accepted that a theory based approach to impact evaluation, one that maps out the causal chain from inputs to outcomes and impact and tests the underlying assumptions, will shed light on the why question. But application of a theory based approach remains weak. This paper identifies the following six principles to successful application of the approach: (1) map out the causal chain (programme theory); (2) understand context; (3) anticipate heterogeneity; (4) rigorous evaluation of impact using a credible counterfactual; (5) rigorous factual analysis; and (6) use mixed methods.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) in its series 3ie Publications with number 2009-3.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: 22 Jun 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ris:iiierp:2009_003

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Postal: Global Development Network, Post Box No. 7510, Vasant Kunj P.O., New Delhi
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Web page: http://www.3ieimpact.org/
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Related research

Keywords: causal chain; impact evaluation; mixed methods;

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

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Cited by:
  1. White, Howard, 2011. "An introduction to the use of randomized control trials to evaluate development interventions," 3ie Publications 2011-9, International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie).
  2. Gaarder, Marie & Annan, Jeannie, 2013. "Impact evaluation of conflict prevention and peacebuilding interventions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6496, The World Bank.
  3. Ravallion, Martin, 2005. "Evaluating anti-poverty programs," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3625, The World Bank.
  4. Stephan Litschig & Marian Meller, 2012. "Saving lives: Evidence from a conditional food supplementation program," Economics Working Papers 1304, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Nov 2013.
  5. Bose, Ron, 2010. "A checklist for the reporting of randomized control trials of social and economic policy interventions in developing countries: CEDE Version 1.0," 3ie Publications 2010-6, International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie).

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