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Theory-Based Impact Evaluation

  • White, Howard


    (International Initiative for Impact Evaluation)

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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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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