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Achieving high-quality impact evaluation design through mixed methods: the case of infrastructure


  • Howard White


A good-quality impact evaluation is based on an analysis of the theory of change for the intervention. Analysis of different parts of this causal chain, and the underlying assumptions, necessarily requires use of a variety of research methods. The method should fit the question, not the other way round. The challenge is to genuinely mix these methods rather than conduct parallel studies. The analysis needs to be rooted in a good understanding of context, which may come from anthropology or political science and political economy. Qualitative information sheds light on factors behind programme placement and self-selection. A key contribution from other disciplines is a proper understanding of the nature and distribution of benefits, enabling an impact evaluation design that captures the full range of benefits and socially-mediated impact heterogeneity.

Suggested Citation

  • Howard White, 2011. "Achieving high-quality impact evaluation design through mixed methods: the case of infrastructure," Journal of Development Effectiveness, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(1), pages 131-144.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevef:v:3:y:2011:i:1:p:131-144 DOI: 10.1080/19439342.2010.547588

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 2002. "Propensity Score-Matching Methods For Nonexperimental Causal Studies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 151-161, February.
    3. Viscusi, W Kip & Aldy, Joseph E, 2003. "The Value of a Statistical Life: A Critical Review of Market Estimates throughout the World," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 5-76, August.
    4. Guido W. Imbens, 2004. "Nonparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Under Exogeneity: A Review," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 4-29, February.
    5. repec:reg:rpubli:282 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Datt, Gaurav, 1998. "Computational tools for poverty measurement and analysis," FCND discussion papers 50, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    7. Laura B. Rawlings & Lynne Sherburne-Benz & Julie van Domelen, 2004. "Evaluating Social Funds : A Cross-Country Analysis of Community Investments," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15057.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:wdevel:v:99:y:2017:i:c:p:173-185 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Sonali Senaratna Sellamuttu & Takeshi Aida & Ryuji Kasahara & Yasuyuki Sawada & Deeptha Wijerathna, 2014. "How Access to Irrigation Influences Poverty and Livelihoods: A Case Study from Sri Lanka," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(5), pages 748-768, May.
    3. repec:eee:wdevel:v:99:y:2017:i:c:p:481-497 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Senaratna Sellamuttu, Sonali, 2013. "How access to irrigation influences poverty and livelihoods: a case study from Sri Lanka. Impact assessment of infrastructure projects on poverty reduction," IWMI Working Papers H045795, International Water Management Institute.
    5. Ton, Giel & Klerkx, Laurens & de Grip, Karin & Rau, Marie-Luise, 2015. "Innovation grants to smallholder farmers: Revisiting the key assumptions in the impact pathways," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 9-23.


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